HIX Are a Marathon, Not a Sprint

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media , October 2, 2013

Welcoming newbies to the healthcare system
The millions of uninsured expected to purchase health insurance on the HIX will probably be unfamiliar with the basic mechanics of health insurance coverage. That means training will need to be ongoing. Cigna has developed an extensive education program for this audience and structured its HIX plans to be easy to understand and explain.

In addition, its surveys of potential members revealed that many have never had a family doctor. Mondy says the Cigna networks are primary care–centric. "We want to ease [enrollees] into a very complex healthcare system and help them navigate the system as they engage it."

The long-term viability of HIX
Wojcik says employers that are members of the National Business Group on Health are already familiar with the challenges of open enrollment and benefit changes. "They know there will be bumps in the road" over the short- term with HIX. But if things aren't running smoothly by 2015, "that could be a red flag."

He expects employers to look at what insurers do in the second, third, and fourth years in terms of participation, plans, and premiums. "If HIX can't sustain affordable coverage, if rates increase, or insurer choice is restricted," that will indicate long-term problems.

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