A new Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) study projects 1,200 counties, nearly half (40%) of the nation will have just one insurer in 2018. CMS released a county-level map (see below) of 2018 projected Health Insurance Exchanges, which was based on known issuer participation and public announcements through June 9, 2017.
The CMS found plan options are down from last year and, in some areas, Americans will have no coverage options on the Exchanges, based on the current data.
“This is yet another failing report card for the [ObamaCare] Exchanges,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “The American people have fewer insurance choices and in some counties no choice at all.”
In an effort to project urgency, President Donald Trump lasts week visited with two families—one from Dayton, Ohio, and another from Louisville, Kentucky—who have suffered as a result of regulations, cost increases and penalties due to ObamaCare.
“Thank you for being here and sharing your stories today and giving voice to millions and millions and millions of Americans who are going through turmoil right now. Absolute turmoil,” he said. “Health care is about so much more than dollars and cents. It’s about real people.”
But with Democrats unwilling to participate in healthcare reform, a divided Republican-controlled Senate struggles to pass the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which the House approved on May 4.
Meanwhile, individual insurance markets in Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, Iowa, Nebraska and other states have either collapsed or on the verge of collapsing under the weight of insolvency created by ObamaCare, otherwise known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Anthem Inc (NYSE:ANTM) announced last Tuesday that it will not participate in Ohio’s ObamaCare exchange, leaving roughly 20 of the state’s counties without any insurers.
Administrator Verma noted that the data plotted on the map is meant to show a snap shot in time and it will shift as issuers continue to make announcements on exiting or entering specific states and counties.
As of now, 47 counties nationwide are projected to have no insurers this year, leaving those Americans without coverage for 2018. In 2018, CMS projects that as many as 1,200 counties–nearly 40% of counties nationwide–will have only one issuer in 2018.
“CMS is working with state departments of insurance and issuers to find ways to provide relief and help restore access to healthcare plans, but our actions are by no means a long-term solution to the problems we’re seeing with the Insurance Exchanges,” said CMS Administrator Verma added.
Currently, for 2018 at least 35,000 active Exchange participants live in the counties projected to be without coverage in 2018, and roughly 2.4 million Exchange participants are projected to have one issuer. But CMS anticipates that “no choice” number to rise considerably.