Health-insurance customers in a growing number of mostly rural regions will have just one insurer’s plans to choose from on the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges next year, as some companies pull out of unprofitable markets.
The entire states of Alaska and Alabama are expected to have only one insurer on the health law’s signature online marketplaces next year, according to state regulators. The same is expected to be true in parts of several other states, including Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arizona and Oklahoma, state regulators said.
So far, more than 650 counties appear on track to have just one insurer on the exchanges in 2017, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, which is tracking withdrawals as they become public. That would be up from 225 in 2016, when the state of Wyoming, among other areas, already had just one ACA marketplace competitor. Of the counties in jeopardy of having only a single exchange insurer next year, 70% have populations that are mostly rural, said Cynthia Cox, a researcher at the foundation.
Disclosures of new market entries or further pullbacks will change the totals in coming months, Ms. Cox said. Filings in many states aren’t yet public, and insurers can tweak their approaches until September. Rest of article.
However, there is good news for Obamacare. Bloomberg News reported yesterday:
The percentage of people in the U.S. who lack health insurance fell to a record low last year, in large part because of coverage expansions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In total, 10.5 percent of Americans younger than 65 lacked health coverage, down from 18.2 percent in 2010, according to a government report. Obamacare, as the 2010 law is known, expanded eligibility for the Medicaid program for the poor and gave subsidies to many other people to help them afford private insurance policies. Other parts of the law also increased the number of people with coverage through work, and let children remain on parents’ plans longer. Rest of article.