More evidence adverse selection imperiling individual health insurance market

More evidence the individual health insurance market segment in the nation’s biggest individual market — California— appeared in today’s Los Angeles Times. While an Anthem Blue Cross spokeswoman wouldn’t confirm the account, the newspaper reports a couple was told by the insurer it was shuttering the couple’s $2,500 deductible plan because the risk pool is shrinking and no longer viable.

“A shrinking risk pool will eventually mean that the only people left in the plan will be ones with preexisting conditions,” John Barrett, a Pasadena health insurance broker told The Times. “Over time, rates would go up more than other plans.”  In a nutshell, that describes adverse selection in which insureds likely to place the greatest demands on the risk pool comprise an increasingly larger portion of the pool, forcing the insurer to raise premiums in order to ensure the pool remains solvent.

The report comes a little more than two months after Paul Markovich, COO of Blue Shield of California, told a Sacramento, Calif. health care forum that adverse selection is placing “tremendous stress” on the individual health insurance market.


Need a speaker or webinar presenter on the Affordable Care Act and the outlook for health care reform? Contact Pilot Healthcare Strategies Principal Fred Pilot by email or call 530-295-1473. 

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Frederick Pilot

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