Insurers Show Disparate Interest in State Exchanges

The state health insurance exchanges are a fundamental component of the government's push to get more Americans insured and empower them as consumers when choosing a health plan — but an exchange is only as good as the plans offered on it, and states are seeing wide disparity in payer participation.

In Maryland, 13 health insurers submitted health plans to sell on the individual and small business markets via the online marketplace beginning in October, according to a report by the Baltimore Sun. Among them are Aetna, Coventry Health Care, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic and UnitedHealthcare. State regulators still must approve the plans before they can be included on the exchange.

New Hampshire is another story. Only Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Hampshire has submitted a plan to exchange officials, although companies have until June 1 to apply, according to a report by the Associated Press. Anthem is one of four health insurers licensed to sell individual plans in New Hampshire and one of six that may sell small group plans.

Falling somewhere in between, New Jersey has four insurers expecting to join its exchange, according to a New Jersey Business Journal report, including a Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan created through health law funding that will operate as a consumer-owned, nonprofit health insurer. Aetna is on board, but UnitedHealthcare and Cigna will operate outside New Jersey's exchange for at least the first year.

Size seems to matter when it comes to which states have the greatest payer turnout for the exchanges, although California officials announced three of the nation's largest health insurance companies — UnitedHealth Group, Aetna and Cigna — will watch the market for at least the next year before offering plans on that state's exchange.

More Articles on Health Insurance Exchanges:

UnitedHealth, Aetna, Cigna to Sit Out of California's Health Insurance Exchange
Idaho Becomes Second GOP State Needing Federal Help on Exchange
Exchange Subsidies May Leave Out the "Unbanked," Especially Blacks, Latinos

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