Insurers are under pressure to successfully implement the new health reform law, Karen Ignagni, president and CEO of America's Health Insurance Plans, said during a briefing with reporters in Washington.
Insurers striving to implement reform: AHIP
AHIP has never been a proponent of the new law, but some of the largest insurers in recent months have taken measures to implement certain required provisions ahead of schedule, such as ending the practice of retroactively canceling individuals' policies after they fall ill and allowing young adults up to age 26 to stay on their parents' health insurance policies.
“We've been working with our members, with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, to make this work,” Ignagni said. “That's what our members, what the public expects of our community.” The bottom line is “our community will be measured on how we implement this legislation.”
She reiterated AHIP's long-held point that underlying medical costs are the main driver of premium increases, along with other factors.
The individual market in particular has seen premium hikes, she said. Until 2014, the individual market will continue to be a voluntary one, meaning that the risk of adverse selection is higher than in other markets. That is, healthier individuals in this market are likelier to drop coverage during recessionary times, leaving behind a smaller, sicker pool of individuals—and leading to an increase in premiums, Ignagni said.
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