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Insurers Enter HIXs Despite Gaping Uncertainty

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, September 25, 2013

Most health insurers say they will take part in health insurance exchanges despite concerns about how the programs will function, technical barriers, and the health status of participants. Meanwhile, a federal study finds that premiums will cost less than originally expected and selection will be broad.


health insurance exchanges


>>>Health Exchanges: Open for Business

Nearly 70% of health insurance executives responding in a study released today say they will take part in health insurance exchanges despite widespread concerns about how the programs will function, stubborn technical barriers, and the health status of the people they will be covering.

The PwC study, titled Health Exchanges: Open for Business [PDF], found that the access to potentially millions of new customers on the individual market and a fear of being left behind if these exchanges succeed are overcoming the reservations that many health insurance executives have expressed.

The six-month enrollment period for the exchanges—a key component of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act—starts on Oct. 1, and coverage begins on Jan. 1, 2014.

"With open enrollment about to begin, large national insurers and new players, some from other industries, are jockeying for position in the new exchange market," Ceci Connolly, managing director of PwC's Health Research Institute, said in prepared remarks. "Investment in retention programs will be crucial to securing the loyalty of a new crop of technologically savvy buyers. Companies should think beyond initial implementation challenges and focus on building a meaningful customer experience, with an eye on cost reduction and personalized communication."

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