This week, it was reported there will likely only be one insurance carrier offering plans on the New Hampshire Health Insurance Exchange. Insurance carriers have until June 1, 2013 to file applications in New Hampshire, however Exchange officials confirmed that just one company, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Hampshire, has yet to apply.
Boston.com reported on the New Hampshire Health Insurance Exchange this week, noting that consumer and business advocates are disappointed with the news, but not surprised (see article here).
Previously, we wrote about the lack of competition in the marketplaces. Now it appears that New Hampshire is falling into the list of states, including Alabama, Hawaii, Michigan, Delaware, Alaska, North Dakota, South Carolina, Rhode Island, Wyoming and Nebraska, who are expected to have a monopoly or near-monopoly in their health insurance exchange.
The New Hampshire Health Insurance Exchange is intended to be an online marketplace for individuals and small businesses to shop for plans, and compare plans across carriers. The idea behind the new exchanges, according to the federal government, is to provide choice for consumers, and competition amongst insurance carriers.
As things are shaping up in New Hampshire, there won't be choice or competition for individuals or small businesses through the New Hampshire Health Insurance Exchange.
Why are insurers not applying to sell plans through the Exchange? One theory is that insurance carriers are "waiting to see" how the exchanges play out in 2014. Another theory is that more sick individuals will flood to the exchanges the first year, creating incentive for insurance carriers not to offer policies on the exchanges in 2014.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.