Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

The surprisingly simple way Nevada recruited more Obamacare insurers

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In Vox Sarah Kliff describes a neat way to bring insurers into the Obamacare marketplaces:

There are a lot of stories right now about the Obamacare marketplaces losing health plans and becoming less competitive.

In Nevada, though, the opposite is happening. The state is expected to have two new health plans join the marketplace this year, which would mean a total of five options for shoppers to choose from.

Nevada made one policy decision that made selling marketplace coverage way more financially appealing (kudos to Louise Norris at HealthInsurance.org for reporting this first): It gave insurers that wanted to manage the state’s Medicaid program an incentive to sell on the marketplaces too.

States often contract with multiple private health insurers to manage Medicaid, a public program. So Nevada had multiple insurers making bids for those contracts.

Medicaid is a way bigger program than the Obamacare marketplaces, with 74 million enrollees compared with Obamacare’s 12 million. The Medicaid contracts are lucrative; Nevada had $30 million to spend on four-year contracts with private plans.

Nevada knew these were contracts insurers would want. So it told the health plans that Medicaid applications would get preferential treatment if the insurance plan committed to selling marketplace coverage in 2018.

And that is exactly what the Medicaid health plans did. Two insurance plans, Silver Summit and Aetna, bid for and won new Medicaid contracts. As a result, both are expected to join the marketplace next year.

I’m unaware of any other state that has taken this approach to its marketplace, but it certainly seems like one way to increase competition. It makes the Obamacare marketplaces financially appealing to insurers, even if the plans they sell on them aren’t huge moneymakers.

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

11 May 2017 at 11:12 am

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