A Strategic Approach for Insurance Exchanges to Select and Manage Qualified Health Plans
Wakely Consulting Group - Jon Kingsdale, Susan Tuite, Patrick Holland, and James Woolman
Wakely Consulting Group has prepared this policy brief to aid state Exchanges in their contracting strategies with qualified health plans (QHPs). Section I of this brief describes many of the types of decisions that Exchanges should consider in preparing to launch a clean, effective QHP solicitation process. Section II describes the standards that Exchanges will use to certify QHPs. It summarizes the major federal requirements that all QHPs must meet and sets forth examples of additional requirements that some states are considering. Section III sets forth options for “negotiating” key elements of the issuers’ proposals. Unlike many start-up tasks, certifying, re-certifying, de-certifying and managing the relationship over time with health plans is an ongoing and evolving set of tasks. Therefore, Exchanges should take a strategic approach to these functions, each state can craft plan selection and ongoing partnerships to support the achievement of its goals for health care reform.
Wakely also hosted a webinarcovering the topics of this brief.
In February, Galen Benshoof underscored the importance of agents and brokers in ensuring robust enrollment and exchange sustainability. Recognizing this, the State Network funded programs in Illinois and Minnesota, led by Wakely Consulting Group (Wakely), to enhance in-person agent and broker engagement while expanding their capability to assist anyone who walks through their doors, even if they are eligible for Medicaid or other state coverage programs. These Lead Broker Agency programs were a success, and the states are planning to continue or expand the programs next year!
A new issue brief, prepared by Kathie Mazza at Wakely and available here, describes the concept of these pilots and outlines how other states interested in partnering with insurance brokers can implement similar initiatives for future open enrollment periods.
Student health plans have long been a source of coverage for college students who do not have other options available. In 2012, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services redefined student health plans under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), requiring that they be treated like individual health insurance. This means that students buying these plans through their college or university now have the same protections available to them as if they bought a plan in the individual market. It also means that states and the federal government have a new role in oversight of these plans.
The State Network team mourns the recent passing of our dear friend and colleague, Andy Hyman. Andy was the father of the State Network, seeing the value in connecting states with the expertise they need to achieve the vision of coverage that drove him every day.