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Obamacare Drives Out Insurers

Obamacare Drives Out Insurers

Insurers Fleeing Marketplaces Cite Fear of Subsidy Payments and the Individual Mandate

Obamacare markets are undergoing a slow-motion meltdown as a climate of uncertainty.

Most insurers have announced plans to exit the marketplaces, which leaves Obamacare customers nationwide with potentially no options for purchasing subsidized coverage in 2018. In the latest and most significant blow, Anthem this week announced it will pull out of Ohio next year, leaving at least 18 counties without an insurer selling Obamacare plans. And, Anthem is the primary Blue Cross Blue Shield carrier in 14 states, and if it withdraws nationwide it would create turmoil in the individual market. Plans are what is holding the marketplace together in a lot of states.

A big issue is the Republicans haven’t committed to continue paying crucial subsidies (estimated at $7B) as yet. Insurers are also nervous about mixed signals from the administration about whether it will continue enforcing Obamacare’s individual mandate, which they see as a crucial tool for encouraging otherwise healthy people to get coverage.

The next two weeks will be crucial as Senate Republicans seek submit and pass through a vote early July.

Insurers offer stark illustrations of how the uncertainty about the future of the Obamacare marketplaces will affect Americans. The uncertainty that continues to exist around the subsidies and other components of the program have yielded a higher rate, rather than the lower rates.

All agree that uncertainty around the cost-sharing subsidies and the individual mandate are the biggest challenges to be solved.

Source: Politico – 6-8-17

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