Reform Spurs New Vision, Dental and Gap Insurance Products from QualChoice

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Jan. 28, 2013 12:00 am  

Michael Stock, president and CEO of QualChoice.

In the coming months, QualChoice is expected to officially announce its participation in the state health insurance exchange.

In October, the exchange is expected to start enrolling individuals and employees of small businesses for policies that go into place Jan. 1.

It’s estimated that more than 200,000 Arkansans will be buying insurance through the exchange, and some of those will certainly buy from QualChoice.

“Any business likes new customers,” Stock said.

But, he said, there are still a lot of unknowns about the exchange, including what it will cost policyholders and the insurance companies.

“The question is, what’s the price have to be to offer coverage to those people? And what’s the cost of providing care to them going to be? And can you do it profitably?”

Stock said he also is unsure what the demand for health care services will be for those who currently don’t have insurance.

“Are there diabetics that haven’t been managed?” he said. “Those could be high-cost patients.”

The health care reform law prohibits insurance companies from turning people down for coverage based on pre-existing conditions.

Stock said he thinks the price of a health insurance policy in the exchange will be higher than traditional coverage today.

Still, the federal government will provide a subsidy to the policyholders to buy the insurance in the exchange. The amount of the subsidy will be based on the policyholder’s income.

One of the goals of health care reform is to lower health care costs, but Stock said he hasn’t seen prices fall since the health reform law was passed in 2010.



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