Obamacare: Fewer Choices Doesn't Mean Higher Prices
Throughout the United States, as a number of big health insurers—including Aetna, Humana, and United Healthcare—have pulled out of dozens of Obamacare marketplaces, many health insurance consumers are left with fewer choices during this year's open enrollment period.
In fact, 20 percent of consumers looking for individual coverage for 2017 live in areas served by just one insurer—up from 7 percent in 2015. Surprisingly, however, health insurance prices in these areas are not significantly higher than in counties served by multiple insurers. The reason: insurers had to file their initial 2017 rates earlier in the year—before they knew where competitors were withdrawing.
Although questions remain about the future of the Affordable Care Act—with the new administration set to take over in January—enrollments for 2017 (which end for most areas on January 31) were up by 400,000 from November 1 to December 19, compared to the same time period last year. Prices in areas without competition are expected to rise for 2018.
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