Today is the deadline for insurers to apply to offer qualified health plans in state-run exchanges, and the submissions will signal the vigor of competition as the marketplaces begin enrolling members in October.
Late Monday, the CMS said it would extend the deadline for insurers in states with federally run exchanges to submit qualified health plans from today to Friday.
Large carriers have indicated that they will be conservative in choosing where to join the fray. During a conference call Tuesday to discuss first-quarter earnings, Aetna president and CEO Mark Bertolini said the carrier plans on selling insurance in 14 exchanges. And earlier this month, UnitedHealth Group CEO Stephen Hemsley said
, “We will be very selective in where we participate and do not believe the exchanges will be a significant factor for us.”
However, just because a state may have relatively few carriers in a state exchange doesn't necessarily mean the market won't be a competitive one, according to Dan Mendelson, CEO of Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm Avalere Health.
“We never expected to see 39 plans in a state like we saw with (Medicare) Part D,” he says. “The health plans that are bidding on this have to be careful and understand risk, environment, and who the patients are” in a market. “So long as there are maybe four to six plans in a market, I don't worry so much.”Follow Jonathan Block on Twitter: @MHjblock