SOURCE: Getinsured.com

Getinsured.com

June 30, 2011 13:40 ET

Getinsured.com Analyzes Early Impact of Health Care Reform in Western States

Premiums Increases in Western States Outpace the National Average

PALO ALTO, CA--(Marketwire - Jun 30, 2011) - An assessment of customer purchasing patterns and premium data by Getinsured.com, a leading private health insurance Exchange, indicates that health insurance premiums, when compared year over year, have increased by 41 percent on average nationwide between the fourth quarter of 2010 and the second quarter of 2011. Of particular interest is that, on average, western states experienced annual quarter-to-quarter premium growth rates during this time period of 50 percent, whereas the comparable rate was only 35 percent in other states.

According to the company, this rise in premiums reflects both provisions of the healthcare reform law that came into force, as well as other marketplace factors.

1. Healthcare reform has now eliminated lifetime caps on health care expenses for an individual or policyholder. This exposes health insurers to significantly higher costs for their sickest policyholders. These costs are in turn passed to customers in the form of higher premiums.

2. Insurers are now required to accept children with pre-existing conditions on a guaranteed basis. Chronic conditions amongst children are often complex and costly to treat and contribute to rising premiums.

3. Reform has introduced a mandate to cover the cost of preventive care, which represents an additional cost insurers now must factor into the cost of premiums.

4. Interestingly, average premiums during the six months prior to September 2010 (when the first provisions of the law went into force) were flat or trending down nationwide. This may have reflected the desire for insurers to acquire market-share prior to the implementation of other reform provisions. As a result, although year-to-year increases in premiums were over 41%, the increases in premiums over two years were only 18% when compared to premiums during the same period two years ago.

"Taken together, the significant impact of these components on premiums is not a surprise." stated Getinsured's CEO and co-founder, Chini Krishnan. "Long term inflationary trends across states will likely converge, so we would expect to see lower premium increases in the years ahead in the western states. What is critical now is that states implement Exchanges in a manner that spurs product innovation and transparency increases healthcare efficiency and affordability. The Western Governors' Association offers a key opportunity to discuss solutions that meet the specific needs of each state."

Getinsured derived the data for this study from a sample comprising roughly 25,000 policies over 24 months. All policies studied were individual health insurance plans, the study did not include Medicare, Medicaid or CHIP plans. All policy holders were under the age of 64.

For more information or to subscribe to Getinsured's newsletter regarding health insurance Exchanges, please email chini.krishnan@getinsured.com.

About Getinsured

Getinsured has operated an industry-leading private health insurance Exchange since 2005. The company's web-based tools and Customer Support Center provide health insurance for individuals. It enables individuals and families to electronically shop, compare and enroll in health insurance plans within a network of 49 of the nation's leading carriers and over 6,000 plans. Currently, Getinsured services over a one million prospective members each year. The Palo Alto-based company also specializes in customizing Exchange solutions to meet the diverse needs of state governments. Its Exchange software and support services are comprehensive and available independently or as an integrated whole, enabling timely creation of cost-effective and flexible health insurance Exchanges. For more information, visit http://www.getinsured.com.

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