Humana: Yeah, The Enrollment Mix Is Worse Than Though

Surprise!

(Reuters)  Health insurer Humana Inc said on Thursday that it projected its enrollment mix in private plans through the exchanges created by President Barack Obama’s healthcare law will be, “more adverse than previously expected.”

Humana attributed the enrollment trend to regulatory changes allowing people to remain in previously existing plans not sold on the exchanges. Obama proposed allowing insurers to keep selling plans that did not comply with the Affordable Care Act after political fallout that he was not keeping his promise that people can keep insurance plans if they like them.

In other words, people weren’t forced to give up the plans they liked (remember, this is only for one year), as Obama promised ad nauseum, and forced into the more expensive Exchange plans. Which is certainly only one of the reasons why there is a poor mix of healthies to sicks. Ezra Klein interviews Robert Laszewski, president of Health Policy and Strategy Associates

The other challenge now is getting people to pay for coverage. I was surprised today calling around to people to find only about 50 percent have paid. That’s not a reason to panic yet. The due dates for payment have been sliding all around, so people can be confused. But it can be a mess. Some insurers are doing autocalls like politicians do the night before the election asking people to pay.

We can speculate on the reasons for low payment rates, but, suffice to say, that’s a big number. On the mix of healthies and sicks

RL: It’s not positive. I don’t want to say people have given up on the notion they’ll get a good mix. They know the administration will make a big push. The insurance companies will spend big on advertising and outreach. So no one has given up. But it doesn’t look good right now.

There’s a big misconception that this is about young people. That’s baloney. It’s about healthy people. A healthy 20-year-old might only pay a $100 premium. You want healthy 40 and 50-year-olds. The big problem right now is really total enrollment. We only have about 10 percent of the uninsured in here. Insurers think you need more like 70 percent of a pool of people to sign up.

Good point. It’s not just the young, but all healthies. Without a good mix, death spiral.

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