Mark Farrah Associates Assesses Small Group Health Insurance Business
MCMURRAY, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Mark Farrah Associates, www.markfarrah.com, recently assessed small group health coverage trends and identified industry leaders in this important commercial insurance segment. By virtue of size, the small group health segment continues to represent a substantial market opportunity, but health plans have struggled to maintain penetration in the segment. Approximately 144K fewer small groups were reported by carriers in 2015 when compared with 2014 based on data filed in the Supplemental Health Care Exhibit (SHCE), an annual financial statement report. Mark Farrah Associates (MFA) found the number of small group employers offering comprehensive, risk-based medical insurance declined from approximately 26% to 21% since the onset of ACA regulations and exchanges. Even so, small group carriers covered 13.537 million people in 2015 through policies written within 1.088 million small employer groups.
Achieving profitability in the segment has also become increasingly challenging for many firms, even the segment leaders. While UnitedHealth, Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC) & Aetna lead the segment in policies written and covered lives, only UnitedHealth reported an underwriting gain for 2015. The latest data indicates that 277 health plans compete in the small group market, based on an assessment of plans that cover at least 1,000 lives in 2015. These plans are owned and operated by some 137 insurance companies spanning national, publicly-traded companies, private and/or mutual insurance companies, Blue Cross Blue Shield plans and other regional not-for-profit plans.
With the enforcement of ACA mandates beginning in 2016 for firms with 50 or more employees, health insurers may have an opportunity to increase small group business as employers balance the impact of mandated fines with the cost of offering health insurance. Small employers currently have several options for assisting with health insurance benefits including making defined contributions towards individual health coverage, using the SHOP marketplace or joining a health insurance Co-Op. Some small firms have opted to self-fund their medical insurance benefits and industry reports suggest this may be a growing trend. Yet, many choose not to offer group insurance or subsidize health benefits due to increasing costs.
This assessment is a summary of findings presented in -- 2015 Small Group Health Insurance Market -- the latest Healthcare Business Strategy™ release. Mark Farrah Associates regularly reports interesting updates about health insurance enrollment, performance and competition in this complimentary series. To access Healthcare Business Strategy™, visit the Analysis Briefs library on our website at www.markfarrah.com.
About Mark Farrah Associates (MFA)
MFA is a leading data aggregator and publisher providing health plan market data and analysis tools for the healthcare industry. Committed to simplifying analysis of health insurance business, our products include Medicare Business Online™, Medicare Benefits Analyzer™, Health Coverage Portal™, County Health Coverage™, Health Insurer Insights™, and Health Plans USA™.
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Ann Marie Wolfe, 412-944-2417