Understanding the Potential Role Web Brokers Can Play in State-Based Marketplaces
Manatt Health Solutions – Joel Ario and Allison Garcimonde, and Wakely Consulting Group – Jon Kingsdale
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is already greatly expanding individual health insurance coverage, particularly among lower-income uninsured individuals. However, this is neither easy nor inexpensive to sustain, and it will require ongoing, effective public-private partnerships on multiple levels. One potential partnership opportunity is with “web brokers” who sell individual health insurance online, functioning as private distribution channels in a fashion similar to the new Marketplaces and offering a choice of health plans from multiple insurers, while relying primarily on websites and call centers for customer service. This brief, prepared by Manatt Health Solutions and Wakely Consulting Group, seeks to understand the role that web brokers might occupy in this continuously developing landscape, and is intended as a tool for State-Based Marketplaces (SBMs) to investigate potential opportunities for partnerships with these entities. An executive summary of this issue brief provides an overview of this topic, including descriptions of five leading web brokers, a summary of the evolution of federal policy on web brokers, and potential SBM approaches for contracting with web brokers.
Medicaid enrollment has increased by over 10 million (or 15 percent) from February 2020 through February 2021 across all states since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. States have a clear imperative to center health equity as they plan for the end of the public health emergency (PHE) given that Black, Latino/a, and other people of color are most at risk of coverage loss. This expert perspective highlights strategies states can implement to ensure that the end of the PHE does not exacerbate already widespread racial and ethnic disparities in our health care system.
COVID-19 vaccines are now widely accessible in the United States and free to everyone over the age of 12. Given the spread of the Delta variant, there is an urgent need to increase vaccination rates, particularly among Medicaid enrollees. States across the country continue to report Medicaid enrollees are getting vaccinated at lower rates than the general population. This expert perspective explores how state Medicaid managed care programs and health plans can work collaboratively to increase COVID-19 vaccination rates for the more than 55 million Medicaid enrollees in comprehensive managed care plans.
Many states are looking to fill gaps in race and ethnicity data for Medicaid and related agencies. Working with the State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC) at the University of Minnesota, with support from the State Health and Value Strategies (SHVS) program, New York tested multiple strategies aimed at encouraging applicants to answer the optional race and ethnicity questions. This expert perspective highlights an effort by New York’s official state-based marketplace, NY State of Health, to improve the completeness of race and ethnicity data that applicants share when applying for Medicaid; Child Health Plus, the state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP); the Essential Plan, New York’s Basic Health Program (BHP); or Qualified Health Plan (QHP) coverage through its Marketplace.