There’s a growing realization that we’ve all been had, but it’s probably too little, too late:
Up to 2.1 million people will likely have to change plans for 2017 due to insurers leaving states’Affordable Care Act marketplaces, up from more than 1.2 million who had to find new insurers last year. That doesn’t include the millions who bought new plans because they found a better deal.The new estimates, from data expert Charles Gaba of ACASignups.net, come as another analysis shows five states are expected to have just one company selling insurance on the 2017 Obamacare exchanges. Consumers in most counties in nine other states won’t find any competition for their exchange business either, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
These latest assessments show how leery insurers are of the costs and rules associated with selling on the ACA exchanges — the centerpiece of the health law — and the risks this reticence present to their future. Insurers including Aetna,UnitedHealthcare and many smaller insurers and cooperatives have either decided to leave states and counties or have failed. Julie McPeak, who was appointed insurance commissioner by the Republican governor, told The Tennessean that the ACA marketplace for the state was “very near collapse.”
The turmoil is putting intense pressure on federal regulators to stabilize the system, lower costs for consumers and reduce risks for insurers — often conflicting challenges that create a Catch-22. Insurers need healthy people to buy insurance to offset the companies’ costs of covering sicker ones, but healthy consumers who don’t qualify for high subsidies won’t sign up unless the prices are more affordable, says Paul Howard, director of health policy at the free market Manhattan Institute.