24/7 Newsfeed

Put Reason 24/7 on Your Site


Follow Reason 24/7 on Twitter and via RSS

Insurers May Not Participate in Health Exchanges

Last month, the CEO of the nation’s largest health insurance company warned that he and his peers may balk at participating in Obamacare’s insurance exchanges — online, government-run portals where consumers and small businesses without conventional employer-sponsored coverage may shop for policies starting next year.

“We will only participate in exchanges that we assess to be fair, commercially sustainable and provide a reasonable return on the capital they will require,” UnitedHealth Group Inc. CEO Stephen Hemsley said.

That’s ominous news for Obamacare. If insurers don’t participate in the law’s exchanges, then consumers who had hoped to secure affordable coverage through the new marketplaces will instead find few choices and high prices. Taxpayers could be hit hard, too, as higher premiums in the exchanges will require more public spending on subsidies.

Source: Forbes. Read full article. (link)

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Cloudbuster||

    You'll see the MSM apply the adjective "unexpected" to all these obvious and predictable consequences, when they're not busy burying the information completely.

  • Sevo||

    They'll do more than that. They'll immediately claim the failure is a result of KORPARASHUNS(!) rather than the obvious results of central planning.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    The MSM has always been the lapdog of the powers-that-be, their propaganda arm so to speak. When there were only the 3 or 4 networks and no other way to get news, they didn't have to sweat being so obvious. Now they do, and they try to apply the camouflage of outrage to disguise their status.

    My personal feeling is that Obamacare, and all the half-assed socialized medicine proposals, have never been intended to actually solve any health care problems, but only to serve as the beach head for the next step. I don't think the political classes are so organized that they actually designed Obamacare to fail. More likely they simply didn't care, because it was only meant as a temporary measure. Any and all short comings, planned or accidental, would simply be grounds for improvement through more government involvement.

    Thus it is here. If no insurance companies participate, it will be proof that Obamacare didn't go far enough. if they did participate, they would be too expensive or obstreperous, or provide some other handy excuse for providing direct government insurance policies. No thinking or planning required, thus incompetence doesn't matter.

  • JeremyR||

    Obamacare is not socialism, it's corporatism.

    And this very website advocated something very much like it years ago.

    But beyond that, every other country on the planet just about has socialized medicine, yet someone they manage to provide health care to everyone for much less money.

    The problem is that a free market is essentially impossible in medicine. On the one hand, you hare parasitic lawyers suing for every mistake, which costs doctors for simply doing their job and not being perfect. On the flip side, you have good reasons to artificially restrict access to drugs like antibiotics. If you could just buy them off the counter, then there likely would more and more drug resistance stuff.

  • Jesus H. Christ||

    I don't believe that a free market is healthcare is impossible. If that's the case, then healthcare is doomed.

  • John Galt||

    Dirty un-patriotic America hating insurance companies putting profit ahead of the peoples' right to be healthy!

  • Sevo||

    You just wrote the headline in the Chron.

  • ||

    Forbes' report is negligent. It took me just a few moments to find the DHHS web site at which it's made abundantly clear that "Enrollment in the Marketplace starts in October 2013". So Forbes' title, which suggests insufficient customer participation, is scurrilous.

    Also, it seems that the author lacks imagination. 'Tis not hard to see that the new term, "Health Insurance Marketplace", for the Obamacare exchanges will be very useful rhetorically, even if Obamacare requires a little tweaking to make the health insurance marketplace look irresistable to insurers. Anyhow, don't fear that insurers won't participate. Their own insatiable cupidity will be used to lure them in like the pigs that they are. In time, any insurer trying to do business outside the health insurance marketplace will be branded an outlaw and slaughtered in court.

    Once the pigs have been secured within the Health Insurance Marketplace, the single payer fanatics will seek to reduce the profitability. Of course, it may be that Republicans have gained the upper hand in the interim, in which case Congress won't be able to restrain the rampant profiteering in the health insurance marketplace by insurance companies. Capitalism will take the blame, and the cries for single payer will become an overwhelming chorus.

  • Sevo||

    "Anyhow, don't fear that insurers won't participate. Their own insatiable cupidity will be used to lure them in like the pigs that they are. In time, any insurer trying to do business outside the health insurance marketplace will be branded an outlaw and slaughtered in court."

    Not sure "cupidity" is, as you suggest, a reason to gripe about those who comply with what you claim to be the incentives.