Event Recaps

ACA Trends for 2024

Episode Summary

The recent 2024 Broker Link ACA kickoff event provided a comprehensive preview of what brokers and agents can expect during the upcoming open enrollment period. The annual conference featured a panel discussion with senior executives from leading carriers offering insights into the ACA marketplace.

A major takeaway was the message that the ACA market is demonstrating real stability and financial viability, cementing its status as an established part of the American healthcare system. As Broker Link President Mike Smith stated, "The ACA is here to stay." Factors reinforcing this stability include the continuation of subsidies as well as rebate checks issued by profitable carriers.

Representatives from Cigna, Aetna, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas provided updates on their ACA books of business. All indicated that they were either already profitable in the ACA marketplace or steadily moving towards profitability through a methodical approach to expansion and optimizing plan offerings.

Cigna shared that after entering Texas last year, they are focused on managing membership and keeping rates stable in the counties they entered - Dallas, Fort Worth, El Paso, and Lubbock. Aetna is entering its third year in the state, expanding cautiously into new markets like West Texas and the Rio Grande Valley. BCBS has the broadest coverage as the only carrier in all 254 Texas counties and has introduced new plan options to improve profitability in key counties.

Carriers also highlighted innovations around plan benefits and network strategies. Key trends include the emergence of $0 copay insulin plans which are selling robustly, and the rise of telehealth as a "virtual PCP" option. Aetna's national partnership with CVS Minute Clinics provides convenient care access for members when traveling. BCBS offers both broad and skinny network plans to balance access and affordability. Cigna leverages an open-access network without referrals.

The panelists advised that Medicaid redetermination will likely drive significant special enrollment period volume as members losing Medicaid coverage seek ACA plan alternatives. Carriers are anticipating and preparing for this potential surge in membership.

For brokers and agents, carriers are promising extensive support this enrollment season with marketing materials, education, and tracking assistance to help manage ACA books of business. Attending carrier-sponsored events and leveraging upline connections for information and resources was also recommended.

With more scrutiny on the horizon in the form of consent forms and other new regulations, brokers should take time now to brush up on ACA fundamentals and carrier plan details. Tracking business closely and taking advantage of carrier partnerships will be key to navigating the regulatory environment while capitalizing on enrollment opportunities.


(0:00:04) - Broker Link podcast features interviews with several ACA carriers ahead of next enrollment
(0:02:22) - You all came in and you chose several markets in Texas to expand
(0:03:56) - Aetna has a very measured approach to stability in Texas
(0:05:15) - Do you guys foresee profits in Texas next year? Is this a market that you win
(0:09:32) - Karina, you talked about zero-dollar insulin plans for Texas clients
(0:11:39) - MD Live will be available as a PCP for HMO clients this year
(0:13:31) - This year we're seeing the new consent form for ACA
(0:14:58) - Karina: If you're new to ACA, this is the year to start
(0:16:19) - And let me once again thank you all for your support of the tier one sponsorship

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