Kansas Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer announced Thursday that two companies have filed to sell health insurance plans in Kansas on the individual market, including the federal Affordable Care Act’s online marketplace.
UnitedHealthcare’s announcement that it would be pulling out of the marketplace in 2017 opened the possibility that Kansans who shop there would be left with only one choice of insurer.
But a spokesman for Selzer’s office said two weeks ago that the commissioner was actively working to attract more companies to the marketplace, which was created as part of the health reform law.
According to a news release from Selzer’s office, Minnesota-based Medica and Aetna subsidiary Coventry Health and Life filed applications to sell individual health plans just a few days later.
“Health insurance options filed now for the individual market show that competition will likely continue for Kansans’ health insurance policies,” Selzer said.
The news release said Medica has filed to sell “a number of plans” while Coventry has filed to sell only exclusive provider organization network plans — a type of health insurance approved by the Legislature this year that reimburses only for in-network care.
In addition to UnitedHealthcare, companies selling insurance to Kansans through the marketplace for 2016 were Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, which offers plans only for residents of Johnson County and Wyandotte County, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield Kansas Solutions, which offers plans to residents in the rest of the state.
More than 101,000 Kansans purchased insurance through the marketplace for 2016.
Selzer’s agency and the prospective insurers still have to finalize premium rates, and the news release states that final issuer agreements may not be signed until Sept. 23.
The open enrollment period for the 2017 federal online marketplace, healthcare.gov, starts Nov. 1.
Andy Marso is a reporter for KHI News Service in Topeka, a partner in the Heartland Health Monitor team. You can reach him on Twitter @andymarso