ORANGE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Ron Goldstein, president and chief executive officer of CHOICE Administrators, told an audience of health insurance underwriters yesterday that the development of health insurance exchanges will in all likelihood continue throughout the country regardless of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the constitutionality of healthcare reform.
“Notwithstanding the Supreme Court decision on the individual mandate, employers and individuals will still be looking for a vehicle that provides affordable health insurance that meets their needs while providing choice and security,” said Goldstein. “For many, health insurance exchanges may be the answer.”
One of the nation’s best-known thought leaders on health insurance exchanges, Goldstein has had discussions regarding exchanges with nearly all 50 states over the past nine months. He told yesterday’s meeting of the Sacramento Association of Health Underwriters that different states are taking different approaches in complying with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s mandate that all U.S. states and territories establish and launch their own health insurance exchange by January 1, 2014, or default to a federal fallback program. “We estimate that about 15-20 states will build and manage their own exchange, others will opt for the federal fallback program, and still others may adopt the federal program in 2014 while they continue to develop their own exchange to introduce at a future date,” he said.
Health insurance exchanges create an online, one-stop shopping mall where employers, consumers, insurance brokers and others can easily view competing health plans side by side, comparing benefits, costs, provider networks and other features. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that more than eight million people will buy insurance through exchanges in 2014 alone. The Deloitte Center for Health Solutions foresees an exchange market of as many as 46 million members by 2019 if the PPACA is implemented without major changes or surprises.
“Experience has shown that health insurance exchanges can work well,” said Goldstein. He pointed out that some public exchanges are already up and running while the country’s most successful private exchange, CaliforniaChoice, has been successfully serving the small-mid market for 16 years, currently providing coverage for 10,000 employers and 150,000 individuals. “If done properly exchanges have the capacity to help us move to a more rational method of purchasing health coverage, and that makes exchanges the right idea at the right time,” he said.
While exchanges will be sold directly, through brokers and through a still-undefined network of navigators, Goldstein said that it will to be advantageous for employers to continue to purchase their health coverage through a trusted, licensed and qualified broker. “The broker’s expertise and knowledge will be more important than ever in providing the information and unbiased recommendations employers need to make well-informed decisions as well as to provide service for everything from routine issues to serious policy interpretation issues,” said Goldstein.
With this potential before them, Goldstein encouraged brokers to embrace the changes that are happening and to position themselves as the “go-to” person with their existing customers. “The best thing brokers can do to be part of the solution is be comfortable discussing with their customers those elements critical to health insurance exchanges, including defined contribution, multi-carrier programs and Medicaid subsidy eligibility,” he said.
CHOICE Administrators is the nation’s leader in developing and administering health insurance exchanges. Currently serving more than 10,000 employers and more than 150,000 members, it is part of The Word & Brown Companies, the nation’s leading developer and administrator of consumer-choice exchange models. Among the exchanges currently operated by CHOICE Administrators are the CaliforniaChoice® small group (2-50 employees) and mid-market (51-199 employees) private exchanges; HSA California; Choice Builder, the nation’s first ancillary benefit exchange; and Quotit, one of the nation’s largest individual/family proposal and online enrollment systems that generated 6.8 million individual health quotes in 2011. Other CHOICE Administrators products include Kaiser Permanente Choice Solution and Contractors’ Choice. Further information is available at www.choiceadminexchanges.com.
For CHOICE Administrators
Ross Goldberg, 818-597-8453, x-1
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