Delawareans are again facing steep price increases for health insurance next year under the Affordable Care Act.

Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart has approved an average rate increase of 32.5 percent in the individual market for Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware, which has the vast majority of the individual market share in Delaware. That follows an average premium increase of 22.4 percent for individual Highmark plans this year.

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Tennessee is ground zero for ObamaCare’s nationwide implosion. Late last month the state insurance commissioner, Julie Mix McPeak, approved premium increases of up to 62% in a bid to save the exchange set up under the Affordable Care Act. “I would characterize the exchange market in Tennessee as very near collapse,” she said.

Then last week BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee announced it would leave three of the state’s largest exchange markets—Nashville, Memphis and Knoxville.

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States with some of the worst Obamacare news this year also have the biggest need for people to sign up, presenting a major challenge to advocates for the healthcare law.

Of the six states where insurers have proposed the steepest price increases affecting the most people, five have among the highest uninsured rates in the country, according to data compiled by independent analyst Charles Gaba.

In Tennessee, where 11 percent of residents remain uninsured, average monthly premiums could rise by 56 percent next year if insurers follow through with the prices they have proposed.

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The cost of expanding Medicaid under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul is rising faster than expected in many states, causing budget anxieties and political misgivings.

Far more people than projected are signing up under the new, more relaxed eligibility requirements, and their health care costs are running higher than anticipated, in part because the new enrollees are apparently sicker than expected. Rising drug prices may also be a factor.

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Evergreen Health, Maryland’s version of the innovative nonprofit insurers created under the Affordable Care Act, decided Monday to become a for-profit company to avoid the possibility of a shutdown, according to its chief executive.

If the switch is approved as expected by federal and state officials, Evergreen’s unprecedented move will leave standing only five of the 23 co-ops, or Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans, which started nearly three years ago.

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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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Vermont has received tentative approval from the Obama administration to establish an all-payer reimbursement system for healthcare providers in the state starting in January.

Maryland long has had an all-payer system, but it covers only hospitals. Vermont plans to use an accountable care organization-type structure that would cover all providers. All-payer systems require all insurers, whether private, Medicare or Medicaid, to pay similar rates for services.

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Minnesota’s commerce commissioner called for reforms to strengthen the federal marketplace Friday after announcing monthly premium increases of at least 50 percent for 2017.

“While federal tax credits will help make monthly premiums more affordable for many Minnesotans, these rising insurance rates are both unsustainable and unfair,” Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman said in a statement. “Middle-class Minnesotans in particular are being crushed by the heavy burden of these costs. There is a clear and urgent need for reform to protect Minnesota consumers who purchase their own health insurance.”

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The Affordable Care Act’s defenders have spent the past six years dismissing the law’s critics for predicting that it would enter a “death spiral.” But it turns out we were prophets – just look at what’s happening all across Arizona.

The past couple of months have seen the Affordable Care Act’s – Obamacare’s – online exchanges crumble in our state. Three years in, health-insurance companies have discovered that the law’s top-down, one-size-fits-all approach is a bureaucratic and financial disaster. So naturally, they’re abandoning the law in droves.

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