The Next Obamacare Shoe To Drop: When Will Insurers Freak Out?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013
By Paul Martin

Nov. 13, 2013

Two developments today should make health insurers very worried.
First, Amy Goldstein, Juliet Eilperin and Lena H. Sun report in the Washington Post that the administration is unlikely to have the exchange website functioning for most Americans by December 1st. Jeff Zients, who took command over the site in October, emphasized that “ will work smoothly for the vast majority of users.” That seems unlikely at this point.

This is a big issue for insurers, because the worse the website is, the more susceptible they are to insurance pools composed mostly of high-risk beneficiaries. Old, unhealthy people, particularly those with pre-existing conditions, are most likely to spend hours on waiting for it to work. They are the ones who benefit most from the law and are eager to sign up for their new plans. Young, healthy people will see much less of a need to do so. They will wait until the site is working and can complete their signup in a few minutes.

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