- A minimum of 1.4 million people across 32 states will see their current ACA health plans disappear from the marketplaces for 2017, data collected by Bloomberg shows. Of the remaining states, eleven were not affected by insurer pull-outs and seven did not provide enough information.
- Another estimate is even higher -- 2 million to 2.5 million people will lose their plans, compared to 2 million last year, based on insurance company data, ACASignups.net suggests.
- The disappearing plans come as a result of some regional and national insurers quitting or reducing their participation in marketplaces, including Aetna and UnitedHealth, as well as the closures this year of several more state health insurance co-ops.
The open enrollment period for the ACA's 2017 health insurance plans is just around the corner. One question will be how many previous customers will actually choose a new plan, find that nothing else meets their needs, or simply let their enrollment end due to lack of time to shop, frustration, confusion, etc.
With insurer participation down, a growing number of people will have just one "choice" left for their region, and they may not find anything that includes the providers and hospitals where they are already receiving care. Clearly, HHS is concerned about consumer attrition given that it plans to contact those affected and encourage them to make a new choice.
The potential exists that ACA enrollment could shrink along with the reduced options, as noted by Bloomberg, adding that a new S&P Global Ratings report has predicted ACA enrollment for 2017 will see anything from an 8% decrease to a 4% increase.
Some legislative attempts are currently underway to remove the individual mandate, which imposes a fine for lack of insurance coverage, though some consumers may be facing issues such as the closure of their co-op, a choice of only one insurer, or steep premium increases.