Finally open, Obamacare’s online insurance exchanges will mean a boost in business for WellPoint, the nation’s second-largest insurer, according to its CEO.
“We`re projecting 2 million enrollees coming to WellPoint through the enrollment process into 2014 and beyond,” Joe Swedish told “Nightly Business Report.”
‘”We believe we’re perfectly positioned to bring in those enrollees as the enrollment process unfolds.”
The health insurance exchanges, part of President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, launched Tuesday. Millions of people flooded the sites, causing many to freeze or stall.
Swedish was encouraged by the response.
“People are shopping. And we’re seeing that in all of our states, which gives us a lot of encouragement regarding what the next six months will look like,” he said.
As for those who are concerned that the premiums are too expensive, Swedish said it may not be as pricey as they think.
“If there is subsidy that is available to them, I would argue that the out of pocket is substantially less than what they would expect. So, they really do have to do their homework in that regard,” he said.
Plus, competition on the exchanges will bring down prices.
“We believe the priced competition will be alive and well through the exchanges,” Swedish said. “We’ve certainly witnessed it regarding the pricing strategies that have been advanced by the various players on the exchange.”
Some corporations are already opting for the exchanges. Walgreen recently opted to end its company-sponsored health insurance plan. Instead, it will pay a stipend to 120,000 current workers to purchase a plan through a private insurance exchange.
Swedish believes other companies will follow, although probably not all.
“There will be those that move their employees out to private exchanges, maybe ultimately public exchanges,” he noted.
“I think we’re just witnessing an incredible transformation that has begun on October 1, and we’re going to see a lot of moves and changes as the health care landscape changes. And I’d underscore it’s a dramatic shift.”