by David Ramsey
The Arkansas Insurance Department just received word that United Security Life and Health Company out of Chicago wishes to offer plans on on the Health Insurance Marketplace — the regulated marketplace, or "exchange," created as part of the Affordable Care Act.
The deadline for letters of intent was yesterday, but AID said they would accept the letter from United Security Life and Health (not to be confused with the larger United Healthcare), which just got the go-ahead from their board today. The carrier's plan is to offer their plans statewide. Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield and the federal multi-state Blue Cross Blue Shield both plan to offer plans across the state as well, so things are looking up in terms of getting at least two carriers in every county, as mandated by the "private option" legislation.
United Security joins the four carriers that submitted letters of intent yesterday: the two Blues, Centene, and Qual Choice.
Participation of the multi-state plans is still dependent on a decision from the feds, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) — so AID officials do not know for sure whether the multi-state Blue Cross plan will be an option, despite their letter of intent. However, AID officials said that it's possible that one or two additional multi-state carriers may still come in to the market so the total number of carriers in the marketplace may grow. They are awaiting word from the feds and hoping to hear this month.