Insurance Executives Report Low Marketplace Enrollment

by Talk Business & Politics staff ( 5 views 

About one month into a glitch-filled launch of the online health insurance exchange, carrier participants expressed concern to Arkansas lawmakers over the low enrollment numbers.

John Lyon with our content partner, the Arkansas News Bureau, reports:

Insurance company executives told a state legislative panel Wednesday they have enrolled fewer than 170 Arkansans in health insurance plans through the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace.

Cal Kellogg, executive vice president and chief strategy officer of Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield, Michael Stock, president and CEO of QualChoice of Arkansas, and John Ryan, CEO of Arkansas Health & Wellness Solutions, were asked about enrollment numbers while testifying before the legislative oversight committee on the marketplace.

Four insurance carriers sell plans through the marketplace, which launched Oct. 1. The fourth is the national Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Kellogg said he has seen fewer than 100 enroll, Stock said he has seen about 50 and Ryan said he has seen fewer than 20.

Enrollment has been hampered by technical problems with the federal marketplace site, which Arkansans must use to enroll because the state chose not to run its own exchange. The Obama administration has said it expects to have the site fixed by the end of November.

“We’re concerned that the longer that it goes for the website not functioning, the more frustrated that younger, healthier people are as they try to use that website,” Stock told the panel. “Combined with a variety of other factors, we may not see the volume of participation in the marketplace that we expected to see — and that we based our pricing on.”

Read responses to the testimony from Arkansas Republican and Democratic lawmakers at this link.