New Research Shows ACA Exchanges Will Compete with Private Insurers; None are Easy

CHANGE SCIENCES HEALTH INSURANCE INFOGRAPHICNEW YORK, /PRNewswire/ — Web researchers Change Sciences Group released new data this week comparing the insurance shopping experience on public health exchange web sites, including the new HealthCare.gov site, with the shopping experience on private health insurance sites. According to the research, the new HealthCare.gov site (released on November 30) offers an insurance shopping experience which is now on par with leading private insurer web sites such as Aetna, eHealth and Kaiser Permanente. Continue reading

PA Blues Plan Offers Consumers Choice Of ‘Health-Care Tiers’

An article in today’s Kaiser Health News produced in association with the Philadelphia Inquirer describe how two new HMO plans introduced last week on the federal insurance exchange by Independence Blue Cross (IBC) are offering Philadelphia-area consumers a road map to cut out-of-pocket health-care costs.

The article notes that consumers who sign up for Blue Cross’ HMO Proactive plans will need to choose hospitals, primary-care physicians, and specialists in the least expensive of IBC’s three price tiers of health-care providers.

IBC officials emphasized that tier one, the cheapest, is not a limited or narrow network because customers have access to the entire network; they just have to pay more if they choose a provider – a doctor or a hospital – in tiers two or three.

The article notes that it is far too soon to say how IBC’s tiered network will affect the Philadelphia market because it is uncertain how many people will choose such plans.

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See the full story at KaiserHealthNews.com.

Walgreen to Give Workers Payments to Purchase Health Plans

Walgreen Co.and another 17 large employers are turning to a new concept of giving them money to buy health benefits via private online marketplaces known as exchanges.

Aon Hewitt,  the large employee benefits consultancy, said Walgreens will be the largest employer thus far to join its Aon Hewitt Corporate Health Exchange, bringing more than 160,000 eligible employees to such coverage in 2014. Aon Hewitt said it could not yet disclose the others coming into the exchange in 2014.

See the full story at Forbes.com

FAQ: How Is Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance Changing?

Employers are raising deductibles, giving workers health savings accounts that look like 401(k) plans, mimicking the health law’s online insurance marketplaces and nudging patients to compare prices and shop around for treatments.

Together the moves could eventually affect far more consumers than the law’s Medicaid expansion or health exchanges aimed at the uninsured and scheduled to open Oct. 1. Here’s a rundown.

See the full story at KaiserHealthNews.org

 

Employer Mandate Delay will Drive Consumers into Exchanges, Experts Say

Insurers likely will see even more consumers shopping for coverage on the health insurance exchanges after the Obama administration delayed the reform law’s employer mandate.

The move could drive “a few million” more consumers to the online marketplaces, Larry Levitt, senior vice president for the Kaiser Family Foundation, told Bloomberg.

That’s because employees who would otherwise have received health coverage through their companies will be newly in the market for insurance.

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