Insurers look to state exchange as private model

Insurers interested in pursuing private health insurance exchanges, including WellPoint and Blues plans, to compete with state and federally run exchanges are looking to the Massachusetts market as a model, the American Medical News reports.

Private exchanges may be a successful private model because insurers might not think state and federal governments can persuade employers to use their exchanges. "Government is not a good marketer," said Rob Panepinto, managing director for client practice and exchange solutions at Connextions, which was recently purchased by UnitedHealth.

Insurers are eyeing the Massachusetts Health Connector for evidence that their marketing expertise can compete against a publicly run exchange, even robust ones. Although Massachusetts established its exchange a few years ago, groups still aren't using it to shop for coverage. Only about 6,400 of the 212,000 people who have signed up for coverage through the Connector are part of a group, Connector spokesman Dick Powers told amednews.

However, the Connector's Executive Director Glen Shor said the lack of group members is because few large insurers sell plans on the exchange--a trend that likely will change when four of the state's largest insurers begin selling group plans through the Connector early this year. Therefore, Shor said, it's "wrong to extrapolate" the Connector's experience to other states' public exchanges because they may not have the same challenges.

To learn more:
- read the amednews article

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