Michigan Association of Health Plans

Competition is working

By Rick Murdock

Competition has been a key focus for the members of the Michigan Association of Health Plans. We believe vigorous competition on a level playing field among many companies is the right way to provide the best value for Michigan families looking for health insurance.

So far, the Michigan Health Insurance Marketplace seems to be working to create more competition – and to hold down prices of health insurance in our state.

In early June, the Department of Insurance and Financial Services announced that 18 health insurers plan to offer policies on the Marketplace when the next enrollment period opens Nov. 15. That’s up from 13 companies using the exchange currently.

This week the provided some data about the prices of those policies. Some are up; some are down. That’s to be expected as companies react to the market. Some likely estimated costs too high and others too low, and adjustments in a new market are to be expected.

But the headline information, at least to me, came from this paragraph from the Detroit Free Press:

“An analysis by PricewaterhouseCoopers of more than a dozen states found that Michigan’s overall average price hike of about 2.2% is modest compared to other states and the average premium of $326.74 is lower than the national average premium of $360.”

Now, we still need to see all the details. We don’t know how plan copays have changed, or the cost by age and geographic area, and whether more plans are offering narrow networks of providers.

But overall, we are seeing more competition, and that competition looks as if it’s holding a lid on costs. That’s pretty good news for consumers in the first few months of implementing the Affordable Care Act.