Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Alaska Insurance Company Worried About the Uncertainty of New Market Place

Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield, the largest provider in the state of Alaska, is one of two insurers that will offer coverage under the federally run marketplace. The President of the company, Jeff Davis, is accepting the fact that things may not run as smoothly the first time around. Davis has also acknowledged, and prepared for the possibility of the company losing a substantial amount of money the first year. Although Premera will be increasing the number of consumers they're currently insuring, it will take some time before they can reap the benefits of expansion.

The new law has provisions, like open enrollment periods, to help lessen the impact. But Davis thinks the first wave of people to sign up on the marketplace will have significant health problems. Then he expects healthier people will follow, especially those who qualify for subsidies. In Alaska, that’s anyone who makes less than $57,000 a year. But for those without subsidies, individual insurance could be quite costly. Premera says most rates it filed to offer on the marketplace are higher than its current plans. Davis explains the policies are required to have better benefits and smaller deductibles than the most popular plans today. 

How else will the new marketplace affect both businesses and consumers? How are other states preparing for their first year? 

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