Obamacare: Kansas City Area Stranded

67,000 Americans In 32 Missouri & Kansas Counties Lose Their Last Insurer Option On Obamacare Exchanges

“Parts of the country are in jeopardy of not having an insurer offering Obamacare plans next year. Many counties already have just one insurer offering health plans in the Obamacare marketplaces, and some of those solo insurers are showing signs that they are eyeing the exits.” (“Obamacare Choices Could Go From One to Zero in Some Areas,” The New York Times, 3/31/2017)

BREAKING NEWS: ‘Tens Of Thousands’ In Kansas City Area Now ‘Have No Insurer Option On The Obamacare Exchanges’ For 2018

SEN. ROY BLUNT (R-MO): “Obamacare is collapsing and Missouri families are paying the price. We now have tens of thousands of Missourians in the Kansas City area that have lost their plans and have no insurer option on the Obamacare exchanges next year. It is another devastating blow to families that are already struggling with higher costs and less access to quality health care under the law.” (Sen. Blunt, Press Release, 5/24/2017)

  • “This year, 97 out of Missouri’s 114 counties and the City of St. Louis have only one insurer offering plans on the exchanges…. As things stand today, that leaves 25 counties with no insurer option and 77 counties with only one insurer option next year.” (Sen. Blunt, Press Release, 5/24/2017)

“Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City announced Wednesday that it has decided to exit the Affordable Care Act exchange next year, dealing a heavy blow to those insured under the law commonly called Obamacare. The decision affects about 67,000 Blue KC members in 30 counties in western Missouri and Wyandotte County and Johnson County in Kansas.” (“Blue Cross Blue Shield Of KC Is Pulling Out Of Obamacare In 2018,” The Kansas City Star, 5/24/2017)

‘Iowa Could Be The First State To Lack Any Insurers On Its Exchanges In All But A Handful Of Counties’

SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-IA): “My home state has been hit particularly hard by insurers pulling out of its individual market. In 2016, United Health Care Group announced it would leave Iowa the following year. Last month, Aetna and Wellmark announced they would be pulling out of the individual market in Iowa. This leaves 94 out of 99 counties in Iowa with ONE choice for health insurance on the individual market…. In my home state, 70,000 Iowans are enrolled in the individual exchanges. And the last carrier left – Medica -- is on the fence about its plans for 2018.” (Sen. Grassley, Press Release, 5/15/2017)

“Tens of thousands of Iowans could be left with no health insurance options next year, after the last carrier for most of the state announced Wednesday that it likely would stop selling individual health policies here. Medica, a Minnesota-based health insurer, released a statement suggesting it was close to following two larger carriers in deciding not to sell such policies in Iowa for 2018, due to instability in the market.” (“Medica, The Last Insurer Selling Individual Health Policies In Most Of Iowa, Likely To Exit,” The Des Moines Register, 5/03/2017)

“Iowa’s last major Affordable Care Act insurer threatened on Wednesday to pull out from the state’s marketplace next year, the latest step in a sudden collapse of the state’s insurance marketplace that holds ominous signs for health care customers in states across the county. If Minnesota-based Medica follows through on its threat not to sell plans in 2018, Iowa could be the first state to lack any insurers on its exchanges in all but a handful of counties.” (“Iowa Obamacare Program On Verge Of Collapse As Congressional Uncertainty Takes Its Toll,” The Washington Post, 5/03/2017)

Other States Now Down To One Option, And ‘Having Only One Option Is Really No Choice At All’

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “This year, Kentuckians in 49% of our counties … nearly half of the counties in Kentucky … have only one insurer to choose from. And of course, having only one option is really no choice at all.” (Sen. McConnell, Press Release, 5/16/2017)

Five Entire States Had Only One Choice Of Insurer In 2017 And At Least Two More Could Join The List For 2018

“[Tennessee Commissioner of Commerce and Insurance Julie] McPeak also currently serves as the president-elect of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and they are keeping an eye on a number of communities. ‘Currently we have five states [Alabama, Alaska, South Carolina, Wyoming and Oklahoma] that have only one insurer statewide on the exchange market,’ she told Fox. ‘Another nine states, including Tennessee, have a majority of their counties that have only one insurer that is writing on the exchange market.’” (“ObamaCare Insurance: Fear Of Failure In Tennessee,” Fox News, 4/13/2017)

“Aetna's exit leaves Medica as the only insurer on the Nebraska exchange and Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield as the sole carrier on the Delaware exchange.” (“Aetna To Obamacare: We're Outta Here,” CNN Money, 5/10/2017)

In 2017 ‘One-Third Of All Counties … Had Just One Insurer’

“In the 2017 open-enrollment period that ended on January 31, many areas of the country had limited options for marketplace plans… One-third of all counties [across 26 states], including all of Alaska, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Alabama and South Carolina had just one insurer.” (“Thousands Of Obamacare Customers Left Without Options As Insurers Bolt,” Bloomberg, 4/27/2017)

  • The 26 states with at least one county with only one insurance marketplace option: 1) Alabama, 2) Alaska, 3) Arizona, 4) Colorado, 5) Florida, 6) Georgia, 7) Illinois, 8) Iowa, 9) Kentucky, 10) Michigan, 11) Mississippi, 12) Missouri, 13) Nevada, 14) North Carolina, 15) Ohio, 16) Oklahoma, 17) Pennsylvania, 18) South Carolina, 19) Tennessee, 20) Texas, 21) Utah, 22) Virginia, 23) Washington, 24) West Virginia, 25) Wisconsin, 26) Wyoming

In 2018, ‘More Than 40 Percent Of U.S. Counties Would Have Only One Insurer Selling Coverage On Their Marketplaces’

“With the latest departures, more than 40 percent of U.S. counties would have only one insurer selling coverage on their marketplaces for next year [2018], according to data compiled by The Associated Press and the consulting firm Avalere.” (“More Price Hikes Likely For Government Insurance Markets,” AP, 5/11/2017)

“The companies’ [Aetna and UnitedHealth] exit … mean[s] that 27 [Virginia] counties could have only one choice for 2018, said Katherine Hempstead, a senior adviser at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which funds health care research and grants.” (“Aetna Pulls Out Of Virginia's Individual Market, Citing Big Obamacare Losses,” CNN Money, 5/03/2017)

“Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee announced Tuesday that it will sell Obamacare coverage next year in the Knoxville area, ensuring that enrollees there will have at least one option on the marketplace in 2018. The Knoxville area has been in precarious situation this year. Humana announced in January that it would quit selling coverage there (and across the country), leaving enrollees there with zero insurance plans selling on the marketplace in 2018.” (Vox, 5/09/2017)

  • “The insurance plan warned that the premiums may, however, be high in this area …” (Vox, 5/09/2017)


Related Issues: Health Care, Middle Class, Obamacare