As insurance premiums skyrocket under Obamacare, major health insurers like Aetna, Humana, United Health Care, and other state-specific health insurance companies (for instance, Land of Lincoln in Illinois) have collapsed, pulling out of marketplaces all together. The issue, of course, is that as competition among health insurance companies dries up, insurance premiums will inflate even more than they already have. This is untenable, and the administration knows it.
Many states are now facing the prospect of being relegated to only one or two insurance providers from which people can chose -- which is to say, there's no choice at all.
Worse still, in states like Illinois, rumors are beginning to circulate among some health insurance professionals that certain types of insurance plans, like PPOs, will no longer be available come 2017 -- and that they will be replaced by an HMO-only model. There's just one issue: most doctors' practices do not accept HMOs.
Unfortunately little of this is based on hypotheticals. A new research report by the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that 19 percent of Obamacare enrollees will only have one choice of health insurer come 2017 while another 19 percent will have access only to two.
Even more disturbing is that the Kaiser study finds enrollees in Pinal County, Arizona are at risk of having no insurance exchange options at all. Below are some key findings of the extensive Kaiser report via Fox News:
The Kaiser Family Foundation study found that overall, 31 percent of counties will have just a single insurance option within the Affordable Care Act exchanges. That's up from 7 percent this year -- and underscores a problem many analysts have been warning about for years.
Further, about six in 10 counties could have two or fewer marketplace insurers in 2017, with the “bulk of the increase in single-insurer counties” the result of UnitedHealth Group’s exit, the study, released Sunday, reveals.
The new report found that as insurers pull out, several states are now likely to have just a single insurance option across all counties.
“Given what is known at this time of entrants and exists, four additional states are likely to have a single marketplace insurer in all counties: Alabama, Alaska, Oklahoma and South Carolina, for a total of five states (including Wyoming, which already had one insurer in the states),” the Kaiser report said.
States with “significantly more single-insurer counties in 2017,” include Mississippi, Arizona, Florida, Missouri, North Carolina and Tennessee.
An analysis from the consulting firm Avalere found a similar problem, with the number of states with one marketplace insurer growing.
Republicans seized on the report Monday to claim that the health care overhaul is not providing the choices promised by President Obama and others.
"The president repeatedly promised that his health care law would provide more choices," said Republican Senator Roy Blunt in response to Obamacare's failings..
More choices would have meant enrollees could have enjoyed lower-cost premiums, deductibles, and a more robust offering of health care service providers and coverage options.
Some conservatives believe that since the fallout of Obamacare was entirely predictable (and that predictions of its demise have proven correct in rather short order), it proves Democrats used Obamacare as a springboard to bring about a single-payer system. The findings of this Kaiser report certainly bolster that assertion. The truly frightening part, however, is that if Hillary Clinton is elected president, there will be no way to stop the inevitable.