UnitedHealth Group won’t pay brokers commissions on sales of individual health plans in most states where it participates in Obamacare exchanges, a move that will likely discourage market demand for its plans in those states. The News & Observer reports the Minnetonka-based insurance giant notified North Carolina brokers of the policy change Friday, not long after it announced plans to evaluate whether it would continue to serve the public exchange markets after 2016.
A Plain Dealer analysis of plans offered through healthcare.gov, the exchange website, shows that deductibles, co-pays, and co-insurance expenses are putting up significant barriers to accessing medical care, particularly for middle-income earners. The average deductible for a silver-level plan – among the most affordable options for someone with medical needs – is $3,561 in Cuyahoga County for a 40-year-old male earning $30,000, according to the analysis. The maximum annual out-of-pocket expense for that individual averages $6,277.