IBJNews

Q&A

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Sam Gibbs is president of eHealth Government Solutions, part of California-based eHealthInsurance Services Inc. The company, founded in 1997, pioneered the sale of health insurance over the Internet. It now facilitates sales of health insurance products from more than 180 companies—for individuals and small businesses—in all 50 states. Gibbs spoke about the options for health insurance exchanges, including the state-based exchanges mandated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as well as private exchanges, such as eHealth’s and one being developed by Minnesota-based Bloom Health and Indianapolis-based WellPoint Inc.
 
IBJ: What are the models that the state-based insurance exchanges could take?

A: California has a Medicaid enrollment process. So their vision of an exchange is sort of an expansion of a Medicaid enrollment process. But it’s mostly a big help center approach. That’s the one that’s the most people-centric. To contrast with that, there’s a couple of states, Pennsylvania and Virginia, they don’t want to be in the public-facing part of it at all. What they’re going to do is, they’re going to empower or sanction private companies to be the front-end exchange. They’ve recognized that states have never been in the e-commerce business. So they’re just going to outsource that to the private sector. Then most of the states—and Indiana is in this group—[say] they’ll create a separate not-for-profit and then bid it out to private companies.

IBJ: Do you expect private exchanges to be embraced by employers?

A: Small businesses, what’s happened over the past decade is that they’ve been priced out of it. So they’re constantly having to scale back benefits and trying to be creative. In fact, a lot of employers have dropped coverage over the last five years. The advantage of the [private] shop exchange is that it allows them to switch from a defined benefit to a defined contribution plan. It gives the employer absolute control over what they’re spending. And it allows the employee to actually pick the plan they want—based on where employees are in their life cycle. And they get to take it with them if they change companies. It’s a pretty big change. But my gut tells me it’s what the market wants.

IBJ: Since the defined contribution concept puts a lot more risk on employees, do you expect any employee pushback as employers switch to this model?

A: It’s so hard to say. If you understand the marketplace pretty well, you can get pretty excited about it. So I don’t know. If I just had to guess right now, I would suspect initially there’d be some resistance to it.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. These liberals are out of control. They want to drive our economy into the ground and double and triple our electric bills. Sierra Club, stay out of Indy!

  2. These activist liberal judges have gotten out of control. Thankfully we have a sensible supreme court that overturns their absurd rulings!

  3. Maybe they shouldn't be throwing money at the IRL or whatever they call it now. Probably should save that money for actual operations.

  4. For you central Indiana folks that don't know what a good pizza is, Aurelio's will take care of that. There are some good pizza places in central Indiana but nothing like this!!!

  5. I am troubled with this whole string of comments as I am not sure anyone pointed out that many of the "high paying" positions have been eliminated identified by asterisks as of fiscal year 2012. That indicates to me that the hospitals are making responsible yet difficult decisions and eliminating heavy paying positions. To make this more problematic, we have created a society of "entitlement" where individuals believe they should receive free services at no cost to them. I have yet to get a house repair done at no cost nor have I taken my car that is out of warranty for repair for free repair expecting the government to pay for it even though it is the second largest investment one makes in their life besides purchasing a home. Yet, we continue to hear verbal and aggressive abuse from the consumer who expects free services and have to reward them as a result of HCAHPS surveys which we have no influence over as it is 3rd party required by CMS. Peel the onion and get to the root of the problem...you will find that society has created the problem and our current political landscape and not the people who were fortunate to lead healthcare in the right direction before becoming distorted. As a side note, I had a friend sit in an ED in Canada for nearly two days prior to being evaluated and then finally...3 months later got a CT of the head. You pay for what you get...

ADVERTISEMENT