Tags: Healthcare Reform | Obamacare | marketplaces | insurers | increase

Number of Obamacare Insurers Expected to Rise By 25 Percent

By    |   Wednesday, 24 Sep 2014 03:40 PM

The Obama administration is predicting a 25 percent increase in the number of insurers who will be available through Obamacare federal and state marketplaces, which federal health officials say will hold down premiums.

There are already 315 insurers, or issuers, who want to participate in exchanges next year, reports The New York Times, compared to 252 this year. In addition, in the 14 states that run their own exchanges, the number of insurers is expected to increase by about 10 percent, according to numbers reported by about half of those states.

On Nov. 15, a new three-month open-enrollment period will begin, and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell says the increase shows that "the Affordable Care Act is working."

During the last open enrollment, she said, customers had an average of 50 plans to choose from, but those numbers will increase next year. However, there are qualifications where the new numbers are concerned, reports The Times.

Some insurers report they are expanding into other states because they consider the market and government subsides a good business opportunity.

But many states have more than one insurance market, but issuers need to participate in only one market to qualify as being in a state. This means that while consumers in urban areas have additional choices, people in rural areas won't.

In addition, insurers offering products in three state exchanges count as three separate insurers, administration officials said.

The numbers also do not reflect the decision by PreferredOne to pull out of Minnesota's online exchange, reports The Times.

The news will likely be welcome in New Hampshire and West Virginia, which each offered only one insurer last year, and the numbers will go up to five in New Hampshire and two in West Virginia.

More substantial increases are coming for Indiana, which is going from four insurers to nine, and in Missouri, which is doubling to eight insurers.

However, some insurers are worried that there may be even more turmoil in year two of Obamacare than in its first year, because of the new carriers and as plan costs go up, reports The Times.

An estimated five million new people are expected to enroll, while eight million are expected to renew, say authorities, but people will be able to sign up only during the coming three-year enrollment plan.

There may be a price war, as some larger firms ask for premium hikes while newer, smaller companies could lower their charges to attract business, experts predict.

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The Obama administration is predicting a 25 percent increase in the number of insurers who will be available through Obamacare federal and state marketplaces, which federal health officials say will hold down premiums.
Obamacare, marketplaces, insurers, increase
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2014-40-24
Wednesday, 24 Sep 2014 03:40 PM
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