Insurers Return to Louisiana Personal Health Care Market Exchange Amid Large Subsidies

Two other insurance companies will compete for Louisiana customers in the federal individual health insurance market known as Obamacare.

United Health Care and Ambetter will begin selling policies statewide on Monday, when open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act Individual Exchange begins.

There are 51 plans on the individual health insurance market exchange in Louisiana for 2022, compared to 23 plans in 2021.

Ambetter has 19 different plans and the cheapest plan of $ 370 monthly, but most plans vary between $ 400 To $ 600 one month of bonuses.

Louisiana Blue Cross Blue Shield has 18 plans for sale, while its subsidiary Advantageous health has five other plans on the market. United Health Care has nine plans for next year.

More insurers in the market does not necessarily mean higher quality or lower prices for consumers, as companies can downsize networks to reduce each other on price, said Cynthia cox vice-president at Kaiser Family Foundation and program director on ACA.

“There might not be as many high-quality options because the way insurers compete here is that plans have smaller provider networks,” Cox said. “It works well for relatively healthy people and low income people who are very price sensitive.”

United Health Care left on Louisiana federal market in 2016, which forced 29,000 people to find new health insurance plans.

At first, insurers participating in the federal market were “too optimistic” because companies did not have enough market data, so the plans were too cheap for companies to make a profit. At its peak, Louisiana had 214,148 insured in 2016.

“There were a lot of challenges in the early years of the markets, not as many people got insurance as was originally hoped,” said Katherine baicker, health economist and dean of University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy.

Then insurers overcorrected and premiums were drastically increased, while some companies withdrew from the market altogether. During this time, Louisiana expanded its Medicaid program so that some people qualify for this coverage instead.

“One of the challenges that insurers are very concerned about is having a good risk pool, both sick and healthy people, so that premiums can reflect this rather than just having sick people, ”Baicker said. “There has been a little more clarity on what these markets will look like and insurers have a lot more data that is predicting the cost.”

There were over 100,700 people with plans to exchange individual health insurance in Louisiana this year, approximately 17,600 of which were added during an extended enrollment period that was part of the federal COVID relief program.

This relief program included two years of tax credits until the end of 2022. No individual purchasing health care on the stock market on the basis of a mid-level plan would spend more than 8.5% of their income. premium income. Some people would be eligible for grants for the first time since the start of the exchange, such as those earning more than 400% of the federal poverty line.

The federal stock exchange has been successful in expanding insurance options for low-income residents who qualify for subsidies, but not so much for those who pay full freight, such as middle- and upper-income people, many of whom are homeowners. of small businesses, Cox said.

Grants are now extended up to $ 51,520 for an individual and $ 106,000 for a family of four.

A hypothetical 45-year manufacture $ 58,000 had previously received no assistance under the Affordable Care Act. With the new bill, they would be entitled to a $ 1,250 tax credit, i.e. 20% on their premiums, depending on the Congress Budget Office.

The additional grants under the coronavirus relief program are expected to expire by the end of 2022, but there are discussions about their extension.

“To a large extent, it’s the subsidies, which have been the # 1 factor in keeping the markets alive,” Cox said.