News in Brief

ACA marketplace insurance options expected to shrink in 2017

More than 600 counties will have only one ACA marketplace insurance option as large insurers reduce their participation in plans.

Large insurers such as Aetna and UnitedHealth have begun moving toward steeply decreasing their participation in the insurance marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Consequently, there’s been a tremendous increase in the number of counties served by only one health insurer.

The marketplace lists 687 counties that have only one insurer slated to sell policies in 2017, Vox reports. That’s a nearly fourfold increase over this year, when there were 182 counties with only one insurer.

It’s likely there will also be fewer competitive markets. Only 44.3% of counties are on track to have three or more insurers in 2017, compared to 66.8% this year.

Other ACA news:

  • Despite price hike headlines, ACA insurance is still affordable. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, around 78% of policyholders will be able to purchase health plans for $100 per month or less in 2017, even if premiums rise by 25%. That’s compared to 76% this year. Bloomberg reports how ACA subsidies limit cost increases to consumers.
  • Nine of 11 states with tight Senate races have at least one insurer trying to raise ACA policyholders’ rates by 30% or more next year, Politico reports. With ACA enrollment beginning one week before Election Day, these rate hikes could be a a critical issue in swing states.
  • Election Day could end the debate over repealing the ACA. While Republicans in Congress have long vowed to repeal Obamacare, many seem more willing to adjust it. Without the law’s namesake and faced with a possible Democratic president and Senate, some Republicans see an opening to make the law more to their liking. Bloomberg looks at how both parties may address the ACA after Election Day.

Leave a comment Please see our comment policy