- President Barack Obama and HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell met on Monday with the heads of select insurance companies to discuss ACA marketplace participation.
- Among the insurance CEOs reportedly in attendance were Humana's Bruce Broussard, Cigna's David Cordani, and Blue Cross Blue Shield Association's Scott Serota, among others.
- Obama sent a letter to the insurance companies offering individual plans on the marketplace in 2017 to request help and input into how to sign up younger and healthier individuals in the marketplace, multiple sources noted.
To say this year hasn't been the ACA marketplace's year would be a grand understatement. From failing co-ops suing the federal government over failure to high profile insurance companies leaving the exchange, there's been no shortage of news and curiosity over the health of the individual insurance markets. To a certain extent, it's been somewhat difficult to pull new narratives into the marketplace this summer in place of "Here's another troubling event for the Obamacare individual markets."
The Obama administration seems to know this. Earlier this month, Secretary Burwell noted the admin is continuing to make adjustments to the marketplace and HHS is focusing on outreach to younger, healthier individuals to enroll into and help stabilize the marketplace, Kaiser Health News noted. Late last month, CMS proposed a rule seeking to strengthen the marketplace for 2018 as well as proposed changes for 2017 to better reflect risk associated with marketplace enrollees.
But, as Obama notes in his letter, marketplace stabilization will be a team effort, no small feat for insurers. Noting there have been challenges, Morning Consult quoted Obama's letter: “Most new enterprises have growing pains and opportunities for improvement. The marketplace, while strong, is no exception. Time and experience will help drive that improvement, as will constructive policy changes.”
To cap the letter, Obama asked for assistance in helping the stabilization process. "[S]ince the remaining uninsured are disproportionately younger and healthier, signing them up improves the risk pool and consequently the affordability of coverage for all enrollees," Obama was quoted in Business Insider. "We welcome efforts to increase your outreach during this open enrollment period."