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Blues flood federal HIX with individual plans


By: 
Anthony Brino

While some large insurers were reluctant to start selling lots of individual policies through the federal insurance marketplace, a number of Blues plans dove right in.

Wellpoint’s Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield is selling a total of 8,791 individual plans through the federal HIX in Georgia, Indiana, Maine, Missouri, New Hampshire, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin. They’re among more than 100 insurers selling individual plans in the 36 states where the federal government is operating a HIX.

In Georgia, for instance, Anthem is selling 2,385 different products, joining four other plans, Alliant Health Plans, Centene’s Ambetter Peach State Health Plans, Humana and Kaiser Foundation Health Plans.

In what could turn out to be one of the largest exchange markets, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, is selling 4,572 plans across bronze, silver, gold and platinum tiers, along with limited catastrophic plans for people younger than 30. A division of Health Care Services Corporation, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas is selling more than half of the 6,722 health plans available for Texans through the federal HIX, joining 10 other insurers: First Care Health Plan (selling 540 plans), Scott & White Health Plan (408), Aetna (343), Cigna (337), Centene (324), Humana (120), Community Health Choice (27), Sendero (24), Molina (18) and Community First (9).

Another Blue offering a huge variety of individual products is Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Tennessee, selling 3,834, far more than the three other insurer selling individual HIX policies in the state. Community Health Alliance, the ACA-supported health cooperative, is selling 496 different plans, while the other two, Humana and Cigna, are selling 150 and 175 respectively.

More so than consumers Tennessee, individual policy buyers in Kansas will be a large Blue presence and many varieties of cost-sharing and networks, but few other companies. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City is selling 3,112 plans, while Aetna’s recently acquired Coventry is selling 768 different products.

Other federal HIX states with only a few insurers selling plans: Alaska (Moda Health and Premera Blue Cross), Alabama (Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Humana), Delaware (Coventry and Highmark), Maine (Anthem and the co-op Maine Community Health Options), Mississippi (Humana and Centene’s Ambetter), North Carolina (Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and Coventry), New Hampshire (only Anthem), and West Virginia (only Highmark).

Meanwhile, a number of other states large and small have more issuer. Arizona has 11 different insurers selling 1,293 different individual policies (although not every plan is available in every part of the state), including Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Arizona, Aetna, Cigna, Health Net, Highmark, Humana and Meritus, the ACA-supported co-op.

In Pennsylvania, 9 insurers are selling a total of 2,995 plans, with Geisinger Health System selling about a third of those to consumers in the central part of the state, Highmark selling 736, and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center health plan selling 372, along with four other Blues plans and Aetna (with a separately branded product from Coventry called HealthAmericaOne).

In another large market, with close to 4 million people uninsured, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida is selling 3,823 individual plans in total, about a third of them through an HMO and about 200 through the separately branded Florida Health Care Plans — far more than everyone else.

The insurer with the next largest presence statewide is Cigna, selling 253 individual plans, followed by Aetna (198, about a quarter of them through Coventry), Centene’s Ambetter (81), Humana (72), and Health First Insurance, a part of the Health First integrated delivery network, available in the central coastal areas of Brevard and Indian River counties (18).

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