Obamacare: Fewer Choices

‘Obamacare’s In Trouble… Many Consumers Will Face Fewer Options And Higher Prices’

“The four biggest U.S. health insurers admit they’re each losing hundreds of millions of dollars on their Obamacare plans. Rather than expand coverage, many are pulling out of the exchanges that were set up… many consumers will face fewer options and higher prices.” (“Obamacare’s In Trouble As Insurers Tire Of Losing Money,” Bloomberg, 8/17/16)

‘A Major Challenge To The Basic Mechanics Of [Obamacare]’

“Aetna Inc. will withdraw from 11 of the 15 states where it currently offers plans through the Affordable Care Act exchanges, becoming the latest of the major national health insurers to pull back sharply from the law’s signature marketplaces after steep financial losses.” (“Aetna To Drop Some Affordable Care Act Markets,” Wall Street Journal, 8/15/16)

“Humana will stop marketing Obamacare exchange plans in several states next year and will exit many off-exchange individual markets as well, the company announced today. The decision means the company will only offer individual plans in 156 counties in 11 states, down from 1,351 counties across 19 states this year.” (“Humana Pulling Out Of Many Obamacare Markets,” Politico, 7/21/16)

“UnitedHealth Group said in April it would liquidate all its Affordable Care Act coverage.” (“Aetna’s Obamacare Shock,” Wall Street Journal, 8/2/16)

  • “UnitedHealthcare, the biggest health insurer in the United States, said Tuesday that it plans to exit most of the Affordable Care Act state exchanges where it currently operates by 2017. The health insurer had already indicated that it was dropping coverage of the plans, more commonly known as Obamacare, in Arkansas, Georgia and Michigan. But during a conference call with analysts Tuesday, CEO Stephen Hemsley noted that ‘next year we will remain in only a handful of states.’” (“Unitedhealthcare To Exit Most Obamacare Exchanges,” CNN Money, 4/19/16)

“Anthem Inc. said it is now projecting losses on its Affordable Care Act plans this year, a turnaround for a major insurer that had maintained a relatively optimistic tone about that business…. Anthem Chief Executive Joseph R. Swedish said that the insurer will re-examine its full-on commitment to selling plans on the health law’s exchanges. Anthem will take a “prudent” approach to its future offerings, he said. Anthem has been a major player in the ACA marketplaces, with 923,000 exchange enrollees, and it offers the plans throughout the 14 states where it is a Blue Cross Blue Shield insurer.” (“Anthem Projecting Losses On Affordable Care Act Plans This Year,” Wall Street Journal, 7/27/16)

ARIZONA: “Five insurance companies that had offered coverage in the Affordable Care Act marketplace have told state regulators that they will opt out or scale back coverage when the next open season for Affordable Care Act coverage begins Nov. 1. There will still be coverage, but with fewer providers, experts say costs will likely go up ‘much higher in 2017 than they had in the past couple of years.’” (“Cost Of ACA Health Plans To Rise As Insurers Leave Arizona Market,” The Arizona Republic, 8/09/2016)

ALASKA & ALABAMA: “The entire states of Alaska and Alabama are expected to have only one insurer on the health law’s signature online marketplaces next year, according to state regulators.” (“Insurance Options Dwindle In Some Rural Regions,” The Wall Street Journal, 5/16/16)

  • “Alaska lost a carrier that was struggling to survive in the Northwest. In 2016, Alaska's marketplace had two competitors. One of them, Moda Health, dropped out of the Alaska marketplace in early May, citing ‘significant financial loss’ in the state. This leaves only Premera Blue Cross behind.” (“3 States Are Down To One Obamacare Insurer…” Vox, 5/16/16)
  • “Alabama lost two national carriers. Humana and UnitedHealth both recently announced they would leave the state at the end of the year. United's departure was part of the company's national retreat from the Obamacare marketplaces. Humana was a relatively small presence in the Alabama marketplace, covering about 15,000 of the state's 200,000 Obamacare enrollees. The one remaining carrier will be the local Blue Cross Blue Shield plan.” (“3 States Are Down To One Obamacare Insurer…” Vox, 5/16/16)

WYOMING: “Wyoming was a one-carrier state in 2016 — and will likely stay that way next year. Like the two other states, it is only served by a Blue Cross Blue Shield carrier.” (“3 States Are Down To One Obamacare Insurer…” Vox, 5/16/16)

FLASHBACK: The Original Sale

‘What We Will Do Is Ensure Consumers Have More Choices’

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV): “[W]e are bringing security and stability to millions who have health insurance ... What we will do is ensure consumers have more choices and insurance companies face more competition.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S. 13891, 12/24/2009)

SEN. JEANNE SHAHEEN (D-NH): “I am sure every Member of the Senate ... has heard heartbreaking stories from our constituents about health care-stories ... about frustration over the lack of choice and who provides their health insurance ... Well, this bill will, I am happy to say, change that.” (Sen. Shaheen, Congressional Record, S.13737, 12/22/09)

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): “[W]hat we do with this bill ... We work to reduce cost, we work to expand coverage and increase choice and competition for American consumers.” (Sen. Klobuchar, Congressional Record, S. 13863, 12/23/2009)


Related Issues: Senate Democrats, Obamacare, Health Care