The largest private provider of health insurance policies on Kynect, Kentucky’s health insurance exchange, is going out of business.

The Louisville-based Kentucky Health Cooperative Inc. announced Friday that it will end current memberships on Dec. 31 and will not add new members because of financial problems. It will not offer health insurance plans on Kynect when open enrollment for 2016 coverage starts on Nov. 1.

Mercy will be the 58th rural hospital to close in the United States since 2010, according to one research program, and many more could soon join the list because of declining reimbursements, growing regulatory burdens and shrinking rural populations that result in an older, sicker pool of patients. The closings have accelerated over the last few years and have hit more midsize hospitals like Mercy, which was licensed for 75 beds, than smaller “critical access” hospitals, which are reimbursed at a higher rate by Medicare.

Consumers shopping on the government’s health insurance website should find it easier this year to get basic questions answered about their doctors, medications and costs, according to an internal government document.

A slide presentation dated Sept. 29 says HealthCare.gov’s window-shopping feature is getting a major upgrade. Window shopping is a popular part of the website that allows consumers to browse for taxpayer-subsidized health insurance plans. A copy of the document from the CMS was provided to the Associated Press.

Bad news for New Yorkers, thanks to ObamaCare: More than 100,000 policyholders just learned that their Health Republic insurance plans will be canceled on Dec. 31. The start-up insurer (spun off from the Freelancers’ Union) is hemorrhaging red ink and has to close down.
That’s unfortunate for the policyholders, who now have to scramble to find other coverage and try to keep their doctors.

Health Republic of New York, the largest Obamacare co-op in the country, was ranked as the worst health insurance company in complaints in 2014, according to the New York State Department of Financial Services.

State regulators ordered Health Republic Friday to stop writing insurance policies as it was no longer qualified to provide health insurance policies under New York state standards. Health Republic is the sixth of 23 health insurance co-ops funded by Obamacare since 2011 at a cost of $2.4 billion.

Mergers are sweeping health care, as insurers, hospitals and doctors seek economic shelter from Washington by linking up and getting big.

These merger trends were underway prior to Obamacare. But there’s little question that the law purposely hastened these developments.

Just a few weeks before the third Obamacare enrollment season begins, researchers are pointing out that millions of people are still uninsured, despite the law, and that there are real hurdles to convincing people to sign up.

The first two enrollment seasons made a sizable dent in the U.S. uninsured population, as about 17 million Americans have gained coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s various provisions, the Department of Health and Human Services estimated this week.

The New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and the New York State of Health (NYSOH) health plan marketplace today announced actions regarding the Health Republic Insurance of New York co-op. NYDFS is directing Health Republic to cease writing new health insurance policies and the co-op will commence an orderly wind down after the expiration of its existing policies.

A New York nonprofit health insurer with more than 200,000 patients is going out of business, becoming the fourth and, by far, the largest co-op created under the Affordable Care Act to collapse this year.

In its annual report on poverty and the uninsured, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that: “The percentage of people without health insurance coverage for the entire 2014 calendar year was 10.4 percent, down from 13.3 percent in 2013. The number of people without health insurance declined to 33.0 million from 41.8 million over the period.” (Our analysis shows that virtually all of the increase in the number of people with health insurance has come from Medicaid expansion.)