Obama meets with insurance CEOs on health law

President Obama on Monday met with executives from the health insurance industry, a sector with rising complaints about ObamaCare.

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The White House said that Obama dropped by a meeting of several health insurance company CEOs, as well as Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia BurwellSylvia Mary Mathews BurwellWhy Trump will win the wall fight Price was a disaster for HHS — Time for an administrator, not an ideologue Overnight Healthcare: GOP chairman to introduce pre-existing condition bill MORE and advisor Valerie Jarrett. 

“Administration officials underscored the importance of continuing the work that has helped bring the nation’s uninsured rate to the lowest level on record and solicited ideas for how to further strengthen the Marketplace,” the White House said. 

The meeting comes as several large insurers, such as Aetna and United Healthcare, have announced that they are pulling back from the ObamaCare marketplaces next year, citing financial losses. 

The administration has been making some moves to address insurer concerns, as Obama noted in a letter to every insurance company offering ObamaCare coverage, which was sent Monday as well. 

“We know that this progress has not been without challenges,” Obama wrote. “Most new enterprises have growing pains and opportunities for improvement. The Marketplace, while strong, is no exception. Time and experience will help drive that improvement, as will constructive policy changes.”

The administration, for example, has announced that it will make changes to a program called risk adjustment, which shifts money to insurers with sick and costly enrollees. It has also moved to tighten up the rules for extra sign-up periods that insurers have complained sick people are using to game the system. 

Experts say the coming sign-up period for next year, which begins Nov. 1, will be a crucial test of whether enrollment numbers can climb higher and more young, healthy people will enroll, which would help assuage insurers’ concerns. 

“This year’s meeting provided an opportunity to discuss best practices that HHS and health insurance companies will employ to encourage new customers to sign up and returning customers to shop around and re-enroll,” the White House said of the meeting Monday. 

Obama, in his letter, pointed to efforts HHS will undertake this year to target its outreach messages better and to seek to bring more young people in. For example, the administration will for the first time send messages to people who paid the penalty for lacking insurance and encourage them to enroll. 

The meeting included executives from Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in several states, as well as the CEOs of companies like Humana and Molina.