- For the first time, the Obama administration is sending letters to people who paid penalties for not obtaining insurance under the Affordable Care Act, The New York Times reports.
- Government officials are also planning an advertising campaign using testimonials from Americans newly insured under Obamacare.
- The efforts are part of a major outreach to get new consumers to sign up on the public exchanges.
The were partly created under the notion that many "young invincibles" would sign up, offseting the care costs for sicker patients. But that didn't happen. While 20 million Americans did receive insurance under the ACA, many young, healthy people likely thought they didn't need insurance and took a penalty hit come tax season. The administration's strategy signals a chance to go after individuals who may not have received care in hopes to strengthen the market.
The press comes as a number of insurers are exiting the exchanges because of financial losses. Aetna and Humana, for example, have both announced plans to leave a majority of the ACA markets they participate in, citing sicker-than-expected patients and a lack of risk-corridor funding.
Others, like Kaiser, Molina Healthcare, Florida Blue and Centene have found ways to make money through narrower networks and familiarity with certain regions of the country.
Anthem, too, has signaled that it will continue in the public changes, despite increasing losses there. “We’re all in,” Joseph Swedish, chief executive of Anthem, told the Times. “We’re committed, but we do need adjustments and not just at the margins.”