Government health insurance markets holding up-barely

Humana in February announced that it was leaving the individual market, where earlier this year it said it had more than 100,000 customers in Obamacare plans in 11 states. Actual participation and final rates won't be set until late summer or closer to the November 1 start of enrollment for next year's coverage.

Early plans filed by many insurers for next year include premium increases well over 20 percent, and the consulting firm Avalere expects more than 40 percent of US counties to have only one insurer selling coverage on the exchange, the only place where shoppers can get tax credits to help pay the bill. But large Obamacare insurers in Delaware, Virginia and Maryland seek average increases greater than 30 percent for next year, The Wall Street Journal reports.

In addition to the 25 counties its exit left bare, Blue KC left Jackson County, Platte County, Ray County, Cass County and Clay County with only Cigna remaining on the exchange.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, said the exchanges were "being sabotaged" by the Trump Administration's unwillingness to commit to paying subsidies promised to insurers who cover low-income consumers.

Despite all those concerns, more than two dozen insurers have said they are making plans to continue selling coverage on the exchanges.

The video, tweeted from the White House's main account, outlined a series of "fails" caused by former President Barack Obama's signature health care law as the Trump administration seeks to gain passage of a repeal bill through the Republican-controlled Congress. NRF also welcomes the inclusion of a small business health plan proposal authored by Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi in the bill.

The statement included Wittman's five principles for replacing the Affordable Care Act, among them being: "Medicare and Medicaid must be protected and preserved". If the penalty isn't strictly enforced, healthier people are more likely to forgo insurance and that would drive costs higher, says Beth Fritchen, a partner and actuary at Oliver Wyman.

Although the Affordable Care Act has problems of its own, the House version of the American Health Care Act would slash subsidies and essentially quadruple health insurance costs for moderate-income people over age 50 who buy their own health insurance. In either scenario, the markets are damaged by having fewer people insured and like much else in this bill, it puts the poor and the sick at risk for financial hardship and diminished medical resources.

Wednesday morning, Oscar announced it's going to keep selling individual insurance in NY in 2018, and expanding its offerings in five states - New Jersey, Ohio, California, Florida and Tennessee.

These insurers have made a decision to stay or expand despite the uncertainty for a few reasons.

The fate of America's health care system, the focus of our nation's most important - and most heavily politicized - public-policy debate is in the hands of the U.S. Senate, where senators get their turn to find a balanced and sustainable approach to health care reform.

Insurers also get an assist from the government.

About 52 percent of children living in non-metro areas of Alabama are covered by Medicaid and ALLKids (known in other states as the Children's Health Insurance Program, or CHIP), compared to 42 percent in metro areas. That means companies can raise their premiums high enough to avoid losses and not worry about hurting the individual or family with the coverage.

In contrast, the Affordable Care Act itself remains far more popular than the plan that would replace it.

  • Leroy Wright