More U.S. counties to see Obamacare
marketplace monopoly: analysis
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[August 29, 2016]
By Trevor Hunnicutt
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Nearly a third of U.S.
counties will likely be served by only one insurer that participates in
an Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace in 2017, according to an
analysis published Sunday by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
The 31 percent of U.S. counties that will have just a single option of
insurers within the ACA's exchanges would represent an increase from 7
percent this year, the nonpartisan group found.
UnitedHealth Group Inc <UNH.N> and Aetna Inc <AET.N> have decided to
largely exit government-run online marketplaces in 2017 that sell
subsidized plans created under President Barack Obama's national
healthcare reform law, citing low enrollment and high service costs.
The bulk of the decrease in counties with a choice of insurers is due to
UnitedHealth's pullback, which was announced in April.
The data underscores the degree to which industry retrenchment is
curtailing individual's options within the marketplaces. Insurer
departures may lead to higher costs within that market, analysts have
One county - Pinal County, Arizona - risks having no insurer options at
all within the marketplace, the analysis found.
However, the study's authors said another plan offered elsewhere in the
state could expand to serve the county. The foundation also said it
could take more months and more data for the full impact of the changes
for 2017 to become clear.
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President Barack Obama delivers remarks about health insurance
marketplace enrollments and the Affordable Care Act, commonly known
as Obamacare, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin March 3, 2016.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
was not immediately available for comment, but the agency has said
that the ACA has helped increase the number of options available to
(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Paul Tait)
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