Study Reveals Astonishing Phenomenon: Low Rates = More Market Share


BY  | MAY 21, 2014

Consumers looking for a good deal on the exchanges are more likely to pick a plan from Coventry, Humana and WellPoint.That’s according to Avalere Health, who, in new analysis released Wednesday, concluded that carriers offering low-premiums should gain 2014 market share through the exchanges.
“Consumers in exchanges, even those who qualify for financial assistance, are extremely price-sensitive,” said Caroline Pearson, vice president at Avalere Health. “Carriers who hit the mark on pricing are more likely to attract consumers. While carrier-specific enrollment data is limited, premium positioning looks like a good proxy for future market share.”Avalere analyzed exchange data across 37 states.Coventry had the largest share of its health plans priced competitively, with more than half priced at or below to the “benchmark” plan, which is the second lowest-cost silver plan, Avalere found.

Most (65 percent) of the 8 million consumers who enrolled in a health plan through PPACA’s exchanges chose a silver plan, according to government data. And virtually all of those enrollees (95 percent) qualified for a federal subsidy to help them pay for coverage.

Humana and Coventry — as well as the new co-ops — had the greatest percentage of their silver plan offerings priced competitively, according to the analysis. More than 60 percent of Humana’s silver plans included in the analysis were priced at or below the second-lowest cost silver plan in the region.

Overall, Blues plans have the largest number of competitively priced silver plans in the states analyzed, with 370 low cost silver options in 27 states.

“Securing enrollment in silver plans is critical for carriers establishing exchange market share,” said Elizabeth Carpenter, director at Avalere Health. “Looking ahead to 2015, we expect silver plans to remain the most popular given the link between the silver level and federal financial assistance, including tax credits and cost-sharing reductions.”

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