- Former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told Bloomberg Television that while Obamacare has extended medical insurance to about 20 million people, the new insurance exchanges are still shaky.
- Still, Sebelius, who helped spearhead Obamacare’s launch, said the law has mostly been a success, with healthcare costs rising less sharply than before the law.
- Her comments followed recent announcements by UnitedHealth Group and Humana that they won’t participate in some ACA state markets next year.
“The new markets are fairly fragile. Insurers are moving in and out,” Sebelius said in an interview with the station.
While Humana and Aetna are planning their fallout with some of the state's markets, companies like Aetna are considering expanding their ACA market presence. Centene has additionally expressed optimisim over the state markets.
Sebelius added “some push and pull” will continue “over the next couple of years.”
As New York Times' Margot Sanger-Katz predicts, individual coverage premium rates may actually rise substantially next year but that doesn't mean the markets are failing, they're just growing up. A confluence of factors like insurers pricing plans low to begin with and risk programs sunsetting for insurers will likely result in higher premiums in the coming year.
A former Kansas governor, Sebelius served at the helm of HHS from 2009 to 2014. She left after HealthCare.gov — the federal government’s site for enrolling in individual insurance — went live with glitches that thwarted attempts by many people to sign up for coverage.