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Insurers see early prescription drug claims as a clue to who their new enrollees will be

Jay Hancock of Kaiser Health News spoke with C-SPAN’s Washington Journal Monday morning about how insurers are responding to the health law. Hancock said the 8 million new customers have insurers pondering who they are, how sick they are and how the new enrollees may affect insurance rates in 2015. Worth a look.  Imgres

Hanckock observed that insurers are looking at early claims to see what the cost of insuring their new clients will be -- and accordingly, how they need to price their 2015 health plans. They need this data because the Affordable Care Act doesn't allow insurers to screen people for pre-existing conditions and exclude them.

Reportedly the first cliams to come in have been from pharmacies, showing prescriptions for high-cost chronic medical needs, like diabetes. Insurers have been giving all kinds of signals that rates for 2015 will increase.

That said, 8 million people enrolled in marketplace health plans, so there may be many healthier people offsetting the sickest ones who were the first to enroll and use their plans. How much of their enrollment data insurers will make public is unknown. But in Florida, ithe ACA health plan rates that insurers file with the state's Office of Insurance Regulation will not be regulated until 2016. 

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