ObamaCrash: 1 in 4 Counties Will Only Have One Insurer

Cheryl Sanders
August 31, 2016

Next year's health insurance sign-up season starts a week before the November 8 election, and the previews have been brutal. The data highlights the impact of the mass exodus of high-profile private insurance companies from the exchanges set up under the program popularly known as Obamacare. One of President Obama's accomplishment is failing to attract competition to the exchange market, according to Avalere. Insurer departures may lead to higher costs within that market, analysts have said. There's a link between the price increases and the number of insurers, of course, but the drop in options is also a function of big-name insurers, like Aetna, declining to participate in the program. The same could be said of the American people, if only we had signed on for it.

Not all state markets are in trouble.

While not everyone is a fan of taxpayer subsidies, consumers buying insurance outside of Healthcare.gov or a state-based exchange (if one exists where they live) may not receive federal assistance to help offset the cost of coverage.

But many customers may have to switch to less comprehensive plans to keep their monthly premiums down. Since the act has become law, about 20 million Americans got health insurance from the marketplace. They will have to pay the full increases or go without coverage and risk fines. Term health insurance is a flexible and low-priced major medical insurance for individuals without expensive pre-existing health conditions.


Citing data from the Brookings Institution and the Department of Labor, the Journal noted that "Middle-class families' spending on health care has increased 25% since 2007".

Further, about six in 10 counties could have two or fewer marketplace insurers in 2017, with the "bulk of the increase in single-insurer counties" the result of UnitedHealth Group's exit, the study, released Sunday, reveals.

But because the spigot of federal subsidies remains wide open, an implosion of health insurance markets around the country seems unlikely. Instead, the damage is likely to be gradual. Just 11.1 million people were signed up as of late March.

Debate over how perilous the predicament is for the Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare, is almost as partisan as the divide over the law itself. Both Obama and Hillary Clinton have also revived the idea of the so-called public option, which would be a government-run plan that would either compete with or be a substitute for a plan offered by a private insurer.


Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) says that no matter who is elected president in November, the US needs a Republican Congress next year "to avoid the near collapse" of the nation's health insurance market.

Clinton's primary rival, Vermont Sen.

According to a report written by Robert D. Reischauer and Alice M. Rivlin of the Brookings Institution, the Democratic Party will need to compromise with Republicans in order to engage this side in passing legislation that would fix certain obstacles within the Affordable Care Act.

The issue could prove pivotal to whether Republicans or Democrats win those Senate seats and thereby sway the balance and control of the Senate.


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