First Looks at the Delaware Health Insurance Exchange

Filed in Delaware by on July 18, 2013

Under the ACA, each state is supposed to create and manage a medical insurance marketplace where people who aren’t covered by insurance can buy plans. Delaware’s Health Insurance Marketplace website went live this AM — although the details of the exchange and the insurance options on offer are not yet available. I’m mildly surprised that California and NY got theirs up earlier — I had thought at one time that Delaware was pretty far ahead of the planning curve for planning and implementing this. Which is probably a misconception on my part.

The DHSS has selected 4 organizations throughout the state to help with outreach and to help with enrollment in an effort to reach as many people as possible and to make the process easier:

The guides, she said, will exist to help people navigate the marketplace, learn what health reform is all about and define what the marketplace can do.

“It is critically important we have boots on the ground,” she said.

Delaware anticipates serving up to 35,000 people through the marketplace. There are 90,000 uninsured Delawareans currently. As many as 30,000 additional Delawareans will gain access to health care through the state’s expansion of Medicaid, which begins on January 1 2014.

Plans under review include:

Medical plans through Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, Coventry Health Care and Coventry Health and Life are all under review by the state. Stand-alone dental plans will also be available on the marketplace and all must include pediatric dental coverage. These include: Delta, Dentegra, Dominion and Guardian.

No word yet as to pricing on these plans, which will include Bronze, Silver and Gold plans. I wouldn’t expect to see the kind of dramatic cost reductions as we’ve sen in the news from places like NY and CA, if anything because our customer base is smaller and perhaps not eligible for the kind of volume reductions seen elsewhere. But I hope I’m wrong about that.

Will any of you be getting health insurance from this exchange? What do you think of this, if so?

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  1. chlorophil says:

    State employee here. I’m thinking I’ll qualify for medicaid.

  2. Joanne Christian says:

    I could very well be purchasing also, and will keep you informed. Yup, a 1500 monthly COBRA payment, AND still a 10k deductible has put the hurt on. But worth every penny for our US healthcare. Just waiting…….and sorry–Coventry is not an option, it’s just a card they issue to people to carry around to make them think they have insurance—or their doctor will accept.

  3. Joanne Christian says:

    I have to say cass, I’m really surprised your post hasn’t generated more responses than me and chlorophil. Head in the sand isn’t going to work real well, when many of us–and upwards of the majority of us will be a part of these exchanges–as a consumer. I am troubled the outrage; or who knows; maybe the success and satisfaction will override every posting when we become a part of some plan. People really should be paying attention now—because your employer certainly is—and getting their ducks in a row. Start the conversation, as cass has tried. Thanks cass.

  4. cassandra m says:

    I’m appalled that chorophil has a job with the State and qualifies for Medicaid. Seriously.

    And I wonder, Joanne, how many of us will need to deal with this exchange yet. Or even *know* that they’ll have to deal with this exchange. The DHSS estimates were that only 35,000 Delawareans would be customers.

  5. Joanne Christian says:

    I think that’s the concerning part—employees are perhaps assuming their employer will continue w/ their health benefits. Depending on your benefit year start–there may be alot of surprises come January 1. Regardless, if folks have an HSA, now would probably be the time to increase contribution to it. But then again, if an employer is getting out of the benefits business, don’t know why they would undertake HSA management—but I’ve seen crazier things happen.

    DHSS projects 35,000 would be customers? I wonder if that’s “targeted” customers, or all-inclusive? Amazing the pricetag that comes with that, because it’s not going to be cheap. Perhaps a better plan, but certainly at a cost. Oh I think I am dreading already the “courting” that’s going to go on w/ health plans, akin to credit cards, and home equity loans that used to fill the mailbox! Oh well, maybe I’ll get a cool, new mousepad out of this. :)

  6. cassandra_m says:

    Employers worth their salt will be telling employees about dropping insurance well earlier than 1 January. I worry about the insurance courting of folks who might be told that an offer is via an exchanged (and approved by the State) that really isn’t.

  7. Norinda says:

    The costs of these plans and what they will cover is the million question no-one
    can ask. Are the premiums based on an income sliding scale? I still think we should get the Publc Option back on the table. If the unemployment rate and the economy does not increase people’s disposable income, I would assume the ‘government’ plan Medicaid or Medicare will become the ‘Public Option’

  8. cassandra_m says:

    You can ask, but you won’t know the actual cost of premiums until the state Exchange releases that data. But there will be three tiers of coverage — Bronze, Silver and Gold. The difference between them is the actuarial value of the coverage — how much the insurance pays vs. what you pay. Bronze covers 60%, with you responsible for the rest; Silver 70%; Gold is 80%. The Kaiser Family Foundation is put together a pretty comprehensive FAQ on this. They summarize the subsidies available to families eligible for credits on their premiums. These are the broad categories of services to be covered by each of the plans. There are details of each category someplace but I haven’t found them with a quick search this AM. States have some flexibility with what is covered, in that they can still mandate coverage of certain services and make sure they are included in the plans offered on the exchange.