The Affordable Care Act (ACA) extends health insurance coverage to people who lack access to an affordable coverage option. Under the ACA, as of 2014, Medicaid coverage is extended to poor and near poor adults in states that have opted to expand eligibility, and tax credits are available for low and middle-income people who purchase coverage through a health insurance Marketplace. Millions of people have enrolled in these new coverage options, and the uninsured rate has dropped to the lowest level ever recorded. However, millions of others are still uninsured. Some remain ineligible for coverage, and others may be unaware of the availability of new coverage options or still find coverage unaffordable even with financial assistance.
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Doctor and hospital switching has become a recurring scramble as consumers on the individual market find it difficult or impossible to stay on their same plans amid rising premiums and a revolving door of carriers willing to sell policies. “In 2017, just because of all the carrier exits, there are going to be more people making involuntary changes,” said Katherine Hempstead, a senior adviser at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a New Jersey philanthropy. “I would imagine all things being equal, more people are going to be disappointed this year versus last year.”
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Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois will be the only insurer offering PPO health insurance plans on the state’s Obamacare exchange next year, according to information released Friday by the state Department of Insurance.
That’s down from five insurers that offered individual PPO plans on the exchange this year. Many consumers prefer PPO health plans because, unlike HMO plans, they allow patients to see specialist doctors without a referral and see physicians who are out-of-network, albeit at higher costs.
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More than 250,000 people in North Carolina are losing the health plans they bought under the Affordable Care Act because two of the three insurers are dropping out — a stark example of the disruption roiling marketplaces in many parts of the country.
The defections mean that almost all of the state, from the Blue Ridge to the Outer Banks, will have just one insurer selling ACA policies when the exchanges open again for business in November. The remaining company, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, agonized over whether to leave, too. Instead, it is raising its rates by nearly 25 percent.
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A growing number of people in Obamacare are finding out their health insurance plans will disappear from the program next year, forcing them to find new coverage even as options shrink and prices rise.
At least 1.4 million people in 32 states will lose the Obamacare plan they have now, according to state officials contacted by Bloomberg. That’s largely caused by Aetna Inc., UnitedHealth Group Inc. and some state or regional insurers quitting the law’s marketsfor individual coverage.
Sign-ups for Obamacare coverage begin next month. Fallout from the quitting insurers has emerged as the latest threat to the law, which is also a major focal point in the U.S. presidential election.
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Obamacare will likely see a “significant slowdown” in enrollment next year, a Thursday analysis from S&P Global Ratings projects.
The report suggests effectuated marketplace enrollment will range between 10.2 million and 11.6 million in 2017. The analysts say their forecast “is clearly a bump in the road, but doesn’t signal ‘game over’ for the marketplace.”
“The marketplace would benefit from growth in enrollment, especially if it helps improve the morbidity of the risk pool. But 2017 will likely not be the year the marketplace sees significant expansion,” the report says.
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The federal government will choose health plans for hundreds of thousands of consumers whose insurers have left the Affordable Care Act marketplace unless those people opt out of the law’s exchanges or select plans on their own, under a new policy to make sure consumers maintain coverage in 2017.
“Urgent: Your health coverage is at risk,” declares a sample “discontinuation notice,” drafted by the government for use by insurers. It tells consumers that “if you don’t enroll in a plan on your own, you may be automatically enrolled in the plan picked for you.”
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The Obama administration is worried that insurers bailing out of the health law’s markets may prompt their customers to drop out, too. So it plans to match affected consumers with remaining insurance companies.
The hope is to keep people covered, but there’s concern that the government’s match-making will create confusion and even some disappointed customers.
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South Carolina became the fifth state to have only one company offering health insurance through its Affordable Care Act exchange.
The South Carolina Department of Insurance announced on Tuesday that Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina will be the sole provider for South Carolinians looking to get covered through the ACA, better known as Obamacare, according to The Post and Courier.
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When open enrollment in Obamacare starts next month, enrollees in four states will be able to choose plans from only one insurer.
Alaska, Alabama, Wyoming and Oklahoma have confirmed to the Washington Examiner that they will have only one insurer offering Obamacare plans for 2017. The revelation comes in the wake of defections from some major insurers that have left Obamacare exchanges due to financial losses.
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