One Way To Keep Obamacare Exchanges Afloat – Mergers

A new report in The Hill, by healthcare reporter Sarah Ferris, says when it comes to Obamacare and its healthcare exchanges (or marketplaces) “Many of the 13 state-run Obamacare exchanges are worried about how they’ll survive once federal dollars supporting them run dry next year.” Ferris’ report also says, “For all states, technology is the biggest cost item and the biggest barrier for states to set up their own exchanges.”

And so, If a government-run program such as Obamacare cannot survive with public sector strategies, maybe it can with private sector ones. In an ironic turn, it is the merger which is now being mulled-over by one, if not more, ACA exchanges. Is it really feasible, or a logistical nightmare come true?

The attractiveness of the healthcare exchange merger may be two-fold. Now keenly viewed by some as a last resort to keep state-level healthcare exchanges afloat, it also means some state-level exchanges may be able to combine financial and other resources to stay solvent. As Ferris explains, “The idea is becoming more attractive as more and more states are facing dwindling budgets.”

By way of background The Hill story adds “ . . . [A] shared marketplace — an option buried in a little-known clause of the Affordable Care Act — has become an increasingly attractive option for states desperate to slash costs.”

Jim Wadleigh who heads up the Connecticut exchange is quoted in the Hill story as saying, “What is happening is states are figuring out the money is running out.  At the end of 2016, everyone has to be self-sustaining.”

Talk of healthcare exchange mergers leaves these questions:

  • How will states share resources such as call centers and website platforms?
  • Jennifer Tolbert, a state health specialist affiliated with the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) wonders how a “governing structure” for “multi-state exchanges” would be implemented: “I don’t know how that would be resolved.”


Read more at The Hill