Blais said retaining consumers in the public exchanges is going to be one of the prime challenges in 2015. "We can grow, but we have to retain," she said. "We have to start looking at retention strategies as soon as the next open enrollment period."
To achieve high retention rates, officials at the Colorado public exchange are focused on simplifying the renewal process and "messaging to existing customers" about the value of having health insurance at all times, not just when a health crisis strikes. "We really want people to understand how this benefits them every day," she said.
Expect Prolonged Market Instability
While there was widespread agreement at the AHIP forum that the public exchanges are stabilizing, many speakers predicted it will take several years to achieve a stable marketplace.
"It's really every year for the next few years that there's [going to be] a new major challenge," Blais said. "I think it would be unrealistic to say it's going to be totally stable in five years."
When pressed, Blais said the earliest a stable market could be achieved would be 2018, with a "hard period of figuring it out" followed by an adjustment period. "How do we correct and tweak what's already there?" she said. "We will have to have a couple years of data to make those kinds of decisions."