The forecast illustrates the administration’s confidence in enrolling more people and keeping those who are covered from dropping out in a challenging year. But the Obamacare exchanges are still not attracting enough young, healthy and higher-income individuals who could help spread the health-care costs of the sickest over a bigger group.

“What we are still missing is the young and invincible,” said Deep Banerjee, an analyst at S&P Global Ratings. “The exchange market has to grow a lot more to become stable.”

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State insurance regulators across the country have approved health care premium increases higher than those requested by insurers, despite a national effort to keep rates for policies sold on Affordable Care Act exchanges from skyrocketing, a USA TODAY analysis shows.

In eight states, regulators approved premiums that were a percentage point or more higher than carriers wanted, said Charles Gaba, a health data expert at ACASignups.net who analyzed the rates for USA TODAY. As of Tuesday, those states are Arizona, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Minnesota and Utah.

Pennsylvania regulators approved individual plan rate increases Monday of 33%, which is eight points higher than requested. Two insurers — Keystone Health Plan and Geisinger Quality Option — will also no longer offer plans on the ACA exchange for the state.

. . .

Finalized rates for big health insurance plans around the country show the magnitude of the challenge facing the Obama administration as it seeks to stabilize the insurance market under the Affordable Care Act in its remaining weeks in office.

Market leaders that are continuing to sell coverage through HealthCare.gov or a state equivalent have been granted average premium increases of 30% or more in Alabama, Delaware, Hawaii, Kansas, Mississippi and Texas, according to information published by state regulators and on a federal site designed to highlight rate increases of 10% or more.

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WikiLeaks published a memo dated November 23, 2015 about serious problems with the Affordable Care Act from Chris Jennings, the former Deputy Assistant to President Obama for Health Policy, to presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and John Podesta, the chairman of her campaign. Team Clinton’s private assessment of the problems bedeviling the ACA—that enrollment has fallen short of expectations, that the participant pool is much sicker than expected, and that the ACA’s risk corridor program lacks sufficient funds and authority to bail out participating insurers—markedly resembles that of skeptical outside analysts.

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Some health insurers say they’re paying too much to rival Blue Cross Blue Shield plans under a key pillar of the federal health law designed to compensate insurers that take on sicker and more expensive patients.

The critics’ chief complaint is that the Affordable Care Act’s risk-adjustment program unfairly rewards health plans — including Blue Shield of California — that have excess administrative costs and higher premiums. That comes at the expense of more efficient, lower-priced plans in the individual market, they say.

The Obama administration is considering changes to how these dollars are allocated in the state and federal exchanges, but critics say the proposed modifications don’t go far enough.

. . .

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.

. . .

Some health insurers say they’re paying too much to rival Blue Cross Blue Shield plans under a key pillar of the federal health law designed to compensate insurers that take on sicker and more expensive patients. The critics’ chief complaint is that the Affordable Care Act’s risk-adjustment program unfairly rewards health plans—including Blue Shield of California—that have excess administrative costs and higher premiums. That comes at the expense of more efficient, lower-priced plans in the individual market, they say.

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Obamacare is collapsing. Its utter failures become more obvious by the day. We all remember the promises of Obamacare, chief among them that the “Affordable Care Act” would lower health care costs. The opposite has occurred. Despite the offer of subsidies through the exchanges, enrollment in Obamacare has been dismal. Younger, healthier individuals have little interest in paying exorbitant premiums for insurance plans that come with $5,000 deductibles. The result has been an unbalanced insurance pool where insurers must charge ever-increasing premiums to continue offering coverage.

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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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