Obamacare: States ‘Running Out Of Individual Health Plans’

‘Nebraskans Seeking Individual Policies May Not Be Able To Find Health Plans At Any Price,’ & ‘Iowa Is In A World Of Hurt’

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “This year, Kentuckians in 49% of our counties — let me repeat that, 49%, 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)

‘Nebraska Running Out Of Individual Health Plans’

“After Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska announced it would drop its last two individual health plans Thursday, there is now only one choice for Nebraskans to go to for individual health insurance next year. And that company, Medica Health, has yet to decide whether or not they would offer plans …” (“Nebraska Running Out Of Individual Health Plans, 100,000 May Be Left Uninsured,” KMTV, 6/2/2017)

“Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts said Blue Cross’s decision ‘demonstrates the failure of Obamacare and how the system was so poorly designed that great companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield can’t stay in the marketplace.” (“100,000 Nebraskans Could Be Left With No Options If Last Insurer Pulls Out Of ACA Market,” Omaha World-Herald, 6/2/2017)

‘Iowa Is In A World Of Hurt’

“Cynthia Cox, a deputy director of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health care policy think tank, said Nebraska and Iowa apparently will be among the few states with only one individual ACA insurer.” (“100,000 Nebraskans Could Be Left With No Options If Last Insurer Pulls Out Of ACA Market,” Omaha World-Herald, 6/2/2017)

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)

“At his town-hall meeting in Guthrie Center, [Sen.] Grassley got an earful from residents whose premiums have risen and choices dwindled as insurers that offer plans in the state’s ACA marketplace have fled, potentially leaving Iowa without any major companies offering plans in 2018…. ‘Iowa is in a world of hurt, and something has to be done because Obamacare is a total disaster,’ said Guthrie County resident Vinita Smith …” (“Health Care in Iowa Shows Peril for Both Political Parties,” The Wall Street Journal, 6/4/2017)

  • “Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield and Aetna announced in the spring that they were leaving the state’s individual insurance market. Medica, the third dominant player in Iowa, has said its ability to stay is also in question. The smallest player, Gunderson Health Plan, sells in only a small number of counties and is still weighing whether to remain. If Gunderson and Medica were to pull out, roughly 50,000 people who buy health coverage on Iowa’s ACA exchange could have no insurance options, including the roughly 85% of those people who get subsidies.” (“Health Care in Iowa Shows Peril for Both Political Parties,” The Wall Street Journal, 6/4/2017)

Five Entire States Had Only One Choice Of Insurer In 2017, With More Trouble Ahead 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)

DELAWARE: “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)

VIRGINIA: “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)

TENNESSEE: “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)

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


Related Issues: Health Care, Middle Class, Obamacare