Changes on the health plan horizon:
Consolidation in healthcare is not surprisingly extending further to the large national health insurance payers. The health system and provider group consolidation trends of the past few years have resulted in between 10% to up to 40% in price increases for healthcare consumers. What does further health plan consolidation mean for employers and individual insurance consumers? Medicare and Medicaid markets/contracts are bigger and more financially important to health plans than the individual exchange marketplace at this stage. Health plan mergers could spell fewer choices for employers in terms of national health plans and could also result in further premium price increases and employee cost-sharing in the form of higher coinsurance percentages and deductibles. Some national health plans are losing money on the federal individual health exchange marketplace, while others are shifting in and out of the exchange marketplace.