How to prepare state exchanges for long-term growth

Better investments in consumer-facing technology will help state exchanges attract customers and increase the likelihood of sustainability, according to Employee Benefit News.

Two years into open enrollment, public insurance exchanges face increased financial instability. The Affordable Care Act says the exchanges must be financially self-sufficient this year--but many are not. For example, Covered California anticipates a 15 percent budget reduction for the 2016 fiscal year.

For many exchanges, an inability to boost enrollment limits growth potential. Covered California only increased enrollment by 1 percent from the first year of open enrollment to the second, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

To get more customers, state exchanges need to make "wise investments" in technology, Accenture Managing Director Philip Poley said at an insurance exchange policy conference in the Distrcit of Columbia earlier this week, according to EBN.

"Where does innovation start? It starts with exchange directors knowing they are in business and knowing what business they are in," Poley added.

GetInsured CEO Chini Krishnan provided three tips for exchange leaders looking to make those kinds of technology investments, EBN reported.

  • Now that exchange platforms are built, focus on product distribution.
  • Improve distribution by making it social and mobile. Put another way: Don't confine the exchange experience to a website, Krishnan said.
  • Create a "fluid experience" that makes it easier for consumers to see related products, he said. If an exchange shopper discovers that he or she is eligible for Medicaid, make it easy for that consumer to obtain Medicaid coverage.

Thirteen states and the District of Columbia currently run their own insurance exchanges, although Hawaii recently announced that it will shut down its exchange and shift enrollees to However, with the fate of federal subsidies at stake in the Supreme Court's upcoming King v. Burwell verdict, as many as 12 states have entertained the thought of building an exchange so residents do not lose access to subsidized insurance.

For more:
- here's the Employee Benefit News article

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