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Insurance exchanges a strong draw for health plans

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted July 29, 2013

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The Affordable Care Act’s health insurance exchanges are expected to attract multiple insurers and breed healthy competition in the market, according to a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation report.

Researchers analyzed exchanges in six states: Colorado, Maryland, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Virginia. With the exception of Virginia, which will have a federally operated marketplace in 2014, these states are running their own exchange programs.

“For insurance exchanges to truly benefit consumers’ pocketbooks, there needs to be adequate competition among participating insurers to keep prices reasonable,” said Andy Hyman, who leads health coverage programs at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, in a statement. “Fortunately, the early tea leaves suggest that insurers are eager to participate by providing high-quality, reasonably priced plans in the new insurance marketplaces.”

The six states have encouraged this high level of plan competition by allowing the market to determine rates rather than participating in aggressive negotiations over premiums, and being “very accommodating to insurers in a number of areas including network adequacy and service areas,” the report stated.

The report was conducted by researchers at the Urban Institute and Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute on behalf of the foundation.

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