|By Alex Nixon, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
Several national insurers said last week they expect to lose money on members signed up through online marketplaces formed by states and the federal government. But Highmark CEO
Insurance companies have been concerned that they might lose money on Affordable Care Act plans because a majority of the people signing up have been older. Younger people are needed to offset the risk of insuring older people who tend to have more medical problems and more expensive claims. Highmark has said its enrollment has been "skewing older."
Winkenwerder, speaking to reporters at the company's Downtown headquarters, said he believes Highmark's offerings to individuals were "appropriately priced" and that the nonprofit
In addition to slim margins from Affordable Care Act plans, Winken-werder drew questions about the financial implications of the state's largest health insurer's pending breakup with hospital giant UPMC.
While UPMC last week said its annual revenue would drop by an estimated
"We believe that there would be financial harm to them (without a contract), dislocation of patients and financial harm all around," he said. "We don't see the point in that."
To mute the potential loss of patients when the contract expires at the end of this year, UPMC has been trying to convince Highmark subscribers that they can keep in-network access to UPMC by switching insurers. After this year,
UPMC said last week that
But Highmark maintained that its share of the market for commercial insurance customers -- individuals younger than 65 and employer groups -- was 63 percent in January, unchanged from the same point last year. It also said it retained 95 percent of customers as of January and added 11,600
Gaining individual subscribers through Affordable Care Act plans may be buoying a possible loss of group customers. Since
The company, which is the largest health insurer in
Winkenwerder said he expects the insurer to have gained between 150,000 and 200,000 members by
National insurers Aetna,
As of the end of December, about a quarter of the more than 2 million enrollees nationwide were between the ages of 18-34, the federal government reported last month.
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