Insurers fear national plans will create 'unlevel playing field'

Health insurers and industry groups are expressing concern that national health plans, which will be available through all health insurance exchanges, may create unfair competition.

In particular, they hope the Office of Personnel Management, which will administer these multi-state plans (MSP), doesn't create standards that undermine state regulations and thereby potentially create an uneven playing field in state insurance markets, reported LifeHealthPro.

The problem, industry experts say, is that if OPM requires the national plans to maintain consistent standards in all states, the plans won't necessarily conform to regulations in certain states, given the variety of state health insurance regulations, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

"We have some grave concerns," said Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger. "It creates an unlevel playing field. You have to have all the plans play by the same rules."

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association told OPM "dual regulation would lead to confusion for issuers and consumers over who maintains regulatory oversight inside and outside an exchange," LifeHealthPro noted.

Likewise, executives from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners told OPM it's "critically important that the MSP Program is operated in a way that preserves a level playing field and respects the regulatory responsibilities of the states."

To learn more:
- read the LifeHealthPro article
- see the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article