- The Kaiser Family Foundation has provided a fresh analysis, based on the latest available data, of the impacts that can be expected from insurer exits and entrances in the 2017 ACA marketplaces.
- It estimated that 2.3 million marketplace consumers, or 19%, are currently slated to have only one insurer to "choose" in 2017, compared to about 303,000 consumers, or 2%, in 2016.
- The report added that the number of counties with just one participating marketplace insurer is estimated to rise to 974, or 31%, of all counties in 2017, compared to 225, or 7% of counties, in 2016.
The report updated KFF's previous studies on the subject from May and July with the latest available information, including the recent pullbacks announced by Aetna and Oscar, but noted that "much is still unknown" with most states’ 2017 filings still either redacted or not public. It stressed that final details on insurer participation and premium rates typically only become public just before the start of open enrollment, so it will be about two months before the full picture comes into focus.
The report makes an interesting companion alongside HHS' recent assertion that the "overwhelming majority" of HealthCare.gov consumers will still be able to buy coverage for less than $75 per month, just as in 2016, through the use of premium tax credits and shopping around. This is because it seems to assume the "overwhelming majority" will have choices.
The KFF report agrees that "most marketplace enrollees will likely continue to have a choice of three or more plans in 2017," but estimates that percentage will drop from about 85% in 2016 to 62% in 2017, which could provide a solid majority who can shop around but hardly an "overwhelming" one.