Chris Carlson, principal and consulting actuary at Oliver Wyman, said last week's decision to let consumers keep their non-PPACA-compliant policies through the fall of 2016 will extend uncertainty in the public exchanges. He predicted that many of the "transition folks" will not join the public exchanges until 2017 and the marketplace will not achieve stability until 2019.
"It's going to take a few years … before we are anything close to having everybody insured," Dooley said. "The marketplace is responding at the same time we're trying to get this up and running."
Paul Wann, senior director at Boston-based ikaSystems, said it will take three to five years for the public exchange market to "settle down," but he was optimistic about the long-term. "We have to get consistency – the soon the better. That's the way we do business in the private sector. That's how we survive," he said.
Regardless of how the public exchanges evolve in the coming years, they are almost certainly going to be a major factor in the broader health insurance marketplace far into the future, Wann said. "There's a lot of money invested in this. It's going to be hard to kill it," he said. "It's moving in the right direction, we just need to keep the momentum going."