Archive for Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Insurance companies say 2014 exchange members older, sicker

April 1, 2015

— Two companies that sell health insurance on the Kansas exchange say people who signed up last year tended to be older and sicker than they had anticipated.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports representatives from insurance companies, hospitals and other groups connected to health care reform spoke about the exchange's implementation Tuesday at the Kansas Health Institute.

Matt All, senior vice president and general counsel at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, says those who signed up last year filed more expensive claims than the average pool of customers. All says it's unclear whether those particular types of claims will fall as people get access to more regular healthcare.

Coventry sales director Kevin Curry says it's too early to know whether younger and healthier people who weren't motivated to sign up during the first year have decided to do so in 2015.

All agreed the law's implementation still has some flaws. Insurers noted there have been some continuing problems with some of the systems for transferring customer information. But they did say that the customer's side of the HealthCare.gov website has improved.

According to Curry, insurers also have had to educate people, who have been without insurance for quite some time, about their options.

"We really need to educate people about their benefits," he said.

Currently, only Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas sell insurance on the exchange, but that may change next year. Kandice Sanaie, director of regulatory affairs for United Healthcare, says that the company is talking to the Kansas Insurance Department to determine if it will join the exchange in 2016.

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