A number of insurers have been stepping out of a number of areas they have deemed to be unprofitable.
The Affordable Care Act may be experiencing a shift in the health insurance companies that are continuing to participate in some marketplaces next year, particularly when it comes to those selling plans in rural areas.
This may leave the residents of certain areas with health plan options from a single insurance company in 2017.
According to state regulators, the online insurance exchanges that are central to the ACA in Alaska and Alabama have seen a significant exodus from insurers. In fact, so many health insurance companies have left those markets that the prediction for next year is that there will be only a single insurer left in each entire state. Similar trends are taking places in parts of other states, particularly in rural regions where insurers feel that they are less likely to be profitable next year.
Health insurance companies have been stepping back from parts of five other states, leaving only one remaining.
For instance, segments of Tennessee, Arizona, Kentucky, Oklahoma and Mississippi will be dropping down to a single insurance company to provide the health plans sold on the exchanges. According to predictions from the Kaiser Family Foundation, there will be a total of over 650 counties that will likely have only a single insurer on their insurance exchanges next year. That foundation has been keeping track of each of the insurer withdrawals as they are announced.
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This represents a considerable increase over the figure for 2016, which was a notably lower 225 counties. At the start of this year, the entire state of Wyoming and several other areas already had only a single provider on the ACA marketplace. Among the counties that are now facing the risk of having only a single participant willing to sell health plans on the market next year, 70 percent are in primarily rural locations. This, according to Kaiser Family Foundation researcher, Cynthia Cox.
The next few months will continue to reveal where other health insurance companies will be pulling back and withdrawing from markets altogether, said Cox. In many states, the filings for this step have not yet been made public and insurers have until September to finalize their strategies.