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Enrique Gonzalez, 22, (L-R), Janet Regalado, 21, and their nine-month-old daughter Kayleen Gonzalez pose for a photo after signing up for health insurance at an enrolment event in Commerce, California March 31, 2014. U.S. President Barack Obama's embattle
The old adage that nothing succeeds like success is holding true for Obamacare. Some holdout insurance companies have been convinced by the success of the first enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act, and are planning to jump in and apply to offer their plans on the health insurance exchanges.
“Insurers continue to see this as a good business opportunity,” said Larry Levitt, a health policy expert at the Kaiser Family Foundation. “They see it as an attractive market, with enrollment expected to ramp up in the second year.” Eight million people have signed up for coverage in 2014, and estimates put next year’s enrollment around 13 million.

In New Hampshire, for example, where Anthem Blue Cross is the only insurer offering individual coverage on the state exchange, two other plans, both from Massachusetts, say they intend to offer policies next year. Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, a nonprofit insurer with 1.2 million members, said it expected to participate in the exchanges in both New Hampshire and Maine for the first time and to add Connecticut to the mix in 2016.

UnitedHealth Group and Cigna, which were notable in their caution about the exchanges last year, are expected to enter more markets this year. In Washington State, United is among four new insurers that have told state regulators they are interested in offering plans in 2015.

Add to those New York-based Assurant, which offers plans outside of the exchanges in 41 states and is looking to get on the exchanges in at least some of them "to serve more consumers and provide additional choice for customers purchasing on and off the exchange." Smaller insurers, like Harvard Pilgrim in New Hampshire, are planning to join in as are health cooperatives in a number of states. At the same time, two large companies—Wellpoint and Aetna—say they are likely to stay on the exchanges they are currently participating in.

This is good news for people in the individual insurance market, as increased competition always is. It's not an absolute guarantee that premium prices won't be dramatically increased next year, but is very likely to hold them down. Just like the market is supposed to work, which is why this was a health insurance reform plan Republicans could get behind—until a Democratic president introduced it.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Tue May 27, 2014 at 10:04 AM PDT.

Also republished by Obamacare Saves Lives and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (32+ / 0-)

    "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. [...] There would be no place to hide."--Frank Church

    by Joan McCarter on Tue May 27, 2014 at 10:04:52 AM PDT

  •  This was always the carrot for ACA and (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ColoTim, dfarrah, sacrelicious

    why the insurance lobby didn't lobby against it even more, because corporatist profits were still the incentive, not equitable healthcare universally available(sic)
    in my town there are now "urgent care" walk-in clinics that outnumber convenience stores in number - we're back to the early days of "managed care" and HMOs a.k.a. ""doc in the box"

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "If we appear to seek the unattainable, then let it be known that we do so to avoid the unimaginable." (@eState4Column5)

    by annieli on Tue May 27, 2014 at 10:10:12 AM PDT

  •  More choices (5+ / 0-)

    This is a good trend and I am hopeful that it will result in a wider variety of offerings, which could help address the issue of "networks."  If there are only a few insurers on an exchange, you are pretty much stuck with their networks, whereas more providers would lead to more competition by offering more desirable network choices.  

    Another issue is coverage nationwide or outside the U.S.   I am fortunate to be in the Federal Employee system, and my insurance covers my family anywhere in the world (and believe me, we've used it).   A think a lot of the exchange plans are restricted to certain geographic regions, but more choices will also help address this point.  If consumers are willing to pay somewhat more for worldwide coverage, then it will be offered.  

  •  There's gold in them thar hills. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dfarrah, Uncle Moji

    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

    by HairyTrueMan on Tue May 27, 2014 at 10:24:42 AM PDT

  •  I decided to wait a year to sign up (10+ / 0-)

    Here in Wisconsin, Walker didn't set up an exchange, and my options were rather limited and pricey. So I stuck with my crappy $5500 deductible plan and I'm trying not to use it at all.

    Contrast that with the experience of one of my business associates. He lives in Minnesota and his Obamacare premium is about 40% less than mine would have been. Thanks a lot, obstructionist Walker!

    I'm noticing that most Obama news is seems to be functioning quite as expected. And yet the unhinged element continues to scream Repeal!

    •  scribe, I read awhile ago that those Western and (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ColoTim, scribeboy

      northern County areas have higher rates than those of us in the Southern part of the State. I do know that a few of the Big Ins. Co's  held out and Can participate at a later date. That would be helpful. The numbers don't lie, Walker screwed us again!!

      Don't confuse Confidence with Arrogance.

      by bearsguy on Tue May 27, 2014 at 11:00:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good (0+ / 0-)

    My rural county had one of the non-profit Blues on the exchange and their for-profit subsidiary.  We need more choices.

    What we also need is much better comparison tools, especially of the provider networks.  Now, note the policy by its exact name, go to the insurer's web site, find that exact name, see their marketing label of the network, then dig into the web site to find the providers under that label. The benefits, costs, and network can be laid out much better.

  •  insurance companies gettin' all (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    T100R, ColoTim, freakofsociety, Mokurai

    communistical and shit?

    what's this country coming to?!?!?!?

    "Republicans are shameless dicks. No, that’s not fair. Republican politicians are shameless dicks." - Al Franken

    by AlyoshaKaramazov on Tue May 27, 2014 at 10:47:30 AM PDT

    •  Doc's too man, makes a tea party (0+ / 0-)

      kind of feller,  sad.

    •  What's communistic (0+ / 0-)

      about the profits they get?

      Why wouldn't insurance companies jump on the bandwagon to get their hands on forced payments?

      We can forget about single payer.

      The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

      by dfarrah on Tue May 27, 2014 at 05:05:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It is indeed fortunate that this turns out (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Uncle Moji, AlyoshaKaramazov

        not to be the case. Vermont Single Payer, 2017, with California to follow.

        Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

        by Mokurai on Tue May 27, 2014 at 11:26:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Because of Republican intransigence and (0+ / 0-)

        "repeal" & "it will destroy America" meme re Obamacare, and now ACAs practical success with millions of formerly uninsured and those who formerly insured who have found better priced insurance, the whole narrative about what constitutes a "reasonable or practical or human" right to health care has shifted.  

        The idea that "everyone" should have access to health care has changed from 6 years ago.  Now we are shifting, in the general population, from a debate on "is health care an American right?" to "what kind of coverage, at what cost" should every American have to accept...This is the fundamental building block to a single payer system.  The narrative had to shift, and it is.

        Oddly, the Senator Burr (R-Lawnmover) who wrote the hideous and insulting letter to vet groups about Shinseki is part of that Republican group that wants to privatize veterans care because VA Medical Centers reflect not simply a "single payer" system but the more "communistic" "nationalized health care" system (which I support over single payer).   His attacks on the VA may place more vets in the position of defending "nationalized health care", while he and his conservative compatriots want to turn it all into TriCare (which is government funded health insurance, described by its proponents as "Medicare for Vets".)  

        The whole narrative about what is an American right to health care has changed, because of Obamacare, and makes single payer more likely.  (VT, CA)

        "Out of Many, One Nation." This is the great promise of these United States of America -9.75 -6.87

        by Uncle Moji on Wed May 28, 2014 at 05:44:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I was being facetious (0+ / 0-)

        I was channeling the mind of an ignorant teabagger.

        "Republicans are shameless dicks. No, that’s not fair. Republican politicians are shameless dicks." - Al Franken

        by AlyoshaKaramazov on Wed May 28, 2014 at 12:27:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  So big insurance getting fat via coerced customers (0+ / 0-)

    What's not to love?

    Dammit Jim, I'm a lawyer, not a grammarian. So sue me.

    by Pi Li on Tue May 27, 2014 at 05:07:12 PM PDT

  •  Conservatism marketed to liberals. (0+ / 0-)

    Sounds like Joan has got some of that oldtime free market religion to sell us libruls.   This is a phenomenon some of us Firedoglake readers understood years ago – which is that all this wagon-circling around the ACA unavoidably turns liberals into cheerleaders for the private for-profit insurance industry and its plutocratic owners.   It turns us into a bunch of Mitt Romneys, and the Left takes on the brand damage for crappy Republican policies.

  •  I work for Providence Health Systems (0+ / 0-)

    The Upper Republican Mgmt told us time and time again about that big bad ObamaCare and how it would ruin us....DOH..Now that the insured patients are rolling in, they are now singing  that lovely song sung by your average garden variety cricket.  Shocked I am.....

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