Exchange tweaks for 2015 offerings – weak on affordability, expanded networks, HSAs

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Changes for next year’s CT health insurance exchange plan offerings are small and unlikely to change premiums much. Cost sharing for the most affordable plans will be rising, with consumers paying more for services. Studies find that even modest increases in cost sharing lead consumers to reduce both necessary and unnecessary care, and can drive up far more expensive care such as hospitalizations. The problem is especially serious for people with chronic conditions, exactly the people we want to access health care. Unfortunately even shifting more costs onto consumers will do little to make coverage affordable. Premium reductions from the increased cost sharing limits are expected to be less than estimates for rising prices next year.  In good news, the exchange will hold insurers to set higher standards for plan networks next year, including ensuring geographic access to providers that are taking new patients. For more detail, check the April 30thexchange board materials.