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ACA Insurers Struggle for Stability

Over the coming few weeks, health insurers will start to declare whether they will participate in Affordable Care Act (markets. Colorado Insurance Commissioner Marguerite Salazar says her state's carriers have not said they are leaving, but also do not want to commit...
April 19, 2017

Over the coming few weeks, health insurers will start to declare whether they will participate in Affordable Care Act (ACA) markets. Colorado Insurance Commissioner Marguerite Salazar says her state's carriers have not said they are leaving, but also do not want to commit. Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler pushed back by a month the date when insurers in his state must say what they will offer. “They’ve got those cards and they’re holding them close,” says Kreidler. “Right now, there’s so much uncertainty.”

Things look better in some states. Maryland Insurance Commissioner Al Redmer, Jr., says he hopes one company will re-join his state’s exchange, while Nevada is attempting to convince Aetna and Centene to enter the state’s ACA market. “I’m cautiously optimistic that we won’t see a deterioration, and hopefully we’ll have one more,” says Redmer.

Much of the uncertainty is thanks to the Trump administration, which will play a key role in deciding whether the health law’s markets collapse or survive. Trump’s latest threat has been to stop payments that subsidize co-pays and other upfront costs for lower-income people. Without them, insurers would likely boost their premiums or drop out entirely. The administration has refused to commit to keeping the payments going.

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