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Insurers expect consumer competition to soar in 2015


Some of the top names in the healthcare insurance industry expect a drive in competition among consumers in 2015, reports Forbes.

Last week, Bloomfield, Connecticut-based Cigna, which already operates in five states, announced that come next enrollment period, it will sell plans in Maryland, Missouri and Georgia. Hartford, Connecticut-based Aetna will also expand in Georgia, on top of the 16 states and the District of Columbia where the insurer sells plans. Minneapolis-based UnitedHealth Group also plans to expand to nearly a dozen state exchanges.

Many insurers agree that the upcoming enrollment period will activate a spike in consumer competition as members search for plans that best fit them financially, notes the article.

Cigna noted it lost money on public exchanges this past year, and hopes that expanding to three additional states will help improve its 2014 results--the insurer's overall membership last year saw an increase of only 1.3 percentFierceHealthPayer previously reported

For next year, Aetna is all about location. The insurer will focus on specific geographies where it believes it can drive a highly competitive cost structure that provides the best value to its consumers, according to Forbes.

The nation's largest insurer, UnitedHealth, plans to offer new products with varied pricing that includes HMOs, while it also monitors chronic diseases via its Optum business, which has access to robust data for research, offering a unique method for testing new ideas that will inform operational and policy decisions throughout the industry.

"So we plan to grow steadily from this point forward, advancing our participation in a measured manner in public exchanges in 2015, 2016 and beyond," UnitedHealth's CEO Stephen J. Hemsley told analysts during a second-quarter earnings call, notes Forbes. "We believe there will likely be meaningful membership activity in the market after the initial experience of this year and as second year pricing is presented."

Editor's note: Join FierceHealthPayer on August 14 for a free webinar on how to boost your success on health insurance exchanges in 2015. Our expert speakers will share lessons learned from the first enrollment period, including marketing challenges and successful enrollment tactics.

For more:
- here's the Forbes piece

Related Articles:
Mixed bag of enrollment gains, profit losses for top insurers
Insurer competition drives down premiums
Federal vs. state marketplaces: Insurer participation, competition
UnitedHealth uses Optum Labs research to drive change