Sources: Unitedhealth To Enter Illinois Exchange –

Health insurance coverage now costs $23,215 for a typical family


They have until June 10 to do so. United executives said in an April conference call with investors that the insurer was evaluating other markets with the intent to expand its relatively modest footprint. “At this stage, our bias is to increase our participation” next year, said Gail Boudreaux, chief executive of UnitedHealthcare, United’s primary health insurance subsidiary. Nationwide, UnitedHealth offered exchange-based products in the individual or small-business markets in 10 states and Washington, D.C., this year. It did not offer individual policies on the exchanges in any of the 34 states where the federal government operated the marketplaces, including Illinois. Its absence on the exchanges run by the federal government at left a significant hole in the competitive landscape in Illinois and other states, leading to higher prices for consumers, according to a recent study co-written by Dafny. In the study, released as a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper this week, researchers estimate that monthly premiums for the second-lowest-priced silver plans would have been 5.4 percent lower, on average, had United participated in the federally run marketplaces. The study found that health insurance premiums, on average, are “responsive to competition” and the success of the exchanges is largely dependent on attracting both consumers and insurers.
Sources: UnitedHealth to enter Illinois exchange –

Milliman says Obamacare has barely had any impact so far on these large employer plans, but thats about to change. The actuarial firm cites Obamacare’s impending excise tax on Cadillac plans valued at at least $27,500 for family coverage starting in 2018 as a factor that will force employers to scale back health plans. Milliman points to other factors that will push down cost increases. Higher out-of-pocket costs are fueling efforts around health-care price transparency, and that’s making consumers become better health-care shoppers. Conversely, an improving economy and an increase in expensive specialty drugs will pressure costs to rise. Employer health plans have been undergoing a major transition and will continue to. They’re increasingly looking at things like ” reference pricing ” and private health insurance exchanges, which put more responsibility on employees to control their health-care costs. That’s all to say that the strategies large employers ultimately adopt to keep down costs and what employees can bear are still evolving. Jason Millman covers all things health policy, with a focus on Obamacare implementation.

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