Jay Hancock joined Kaiser Health News in 2012 from The Baltimore Sun, where he wrote a column on business and finance. Previously he covered the State Department and the economics beat for The Sun and health care for The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk and the Daily Press of Newport News. He has a bachelor’s degree from Colgate University and a master’s in journalism from Northwestern University. | Contact: JayH@kff.org | @JayHancock1
Insurance companies confirm a small number of successful signups through the federal website.
The federal health insurance marketplace continued to frustrate consumers Wednesday with delays and software failures, but some people also reported progress.
The online marketplaces, also known as exchanges, sell plans effective as soon as Jan. 1. But they got a rocky launch, with software glitches in some cases and implementation delays in others.
Among the insights: Competition lowers prices, options vary widely by location, and insurers think consumers prefer low premiums to low copays and deductibles.
Experts expect people who are between jobs to gradually transfer to exchanges, a trend projected to save large employers billions in medical claims for ex-employees.
Employers are raising deductibles, giving workers health savings accounts, mimicking the health law’s online insurance marketplaces and nudging patients to shop around for treatments.
Nobody has a bigger financial stake in the success of Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges than hospitals. And few may work harder to sign up consumers than hospitals themselves.
The health law created 24 nonprofit, insurance company startups that will compete with long established companies starting next month.
The National Business Group On Health's annual survey of large employers asked whether they expected various groups currently covered by their plans to choose the health law's new coverage in 2014.
Consumer advocates praise rates that are more affordable, but others question whether they can be sustained.