The American Hospital Association is urging government officials to take “swift action” to stabilize the health insurance market, amid news of big-name insurers drastically pulling back from public exchanges.
Just last week, both Aetna and UnitedHealth announced that they were decreasing their participation in the marketplaces, which are a key piece of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. In a letter Wednesday, Rick Pollack, the AHA’s CEO, urged federal health officials to respond immediately to avoid further erosion of those insurance exchanges.
“Stable health insurance markets are critical to ensuring reliable consumer access to care, and recent decisions by a number of insurers to exit the marketplaces places this access at risk,” Pollack wrote. “We urge you to make several changes to marketplace policies and operations to stabilize the insurance markets and encourage robust consumer and insurer participation.”
Pollack notes that some 11 million individuals currently acquire their insurance through the open markets, and millions will be put in limbo for 2017 without further actions. Some markets, such as Pinal County, Ariz., may be left with zero insurer options for next year, he notes.
The AHA offers the Department of Health & Human Services six possible actions that it can take to help stabilize insurance markets. You can read all of the specifics in the link to the letter above.
- Strengthen the special enrollment periods.
- Further refine the risk-adjustment program.
- Increase access to coverage through third-party payment of premiums.
- Enhance outreach and enrollment strategies.
- Support the development of state-level solutions.
- Work with state regulators to promote fair and sustainable plan pricing.