The Obama administration reports that the individual health insurance market has been steadily adding healthier and lower-risk consumers. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services says per-member health costs rose between 3 and 6 percent across the U.S. market, with 154 million people getting coverage through their employer, and 55 million people through Medicare.
Still, the number of Americans losing Obamacare coverage is adding up. In fact, Avalere predicts “one-third of the country will have no exchange plan competition in 2017.”
Recently, Aetna announced it is pulling out of 11 of the 15 states where it had been participating in marketplaces set up under Obamacare. Aetna joins UnitedHealthcare and Humana, who both said they will withdraw from most of the health insurance exchanges due to higher-than-expected losses.
The decision came shortly after the U.S. Justice Department blocked Aetna’s plan to purchase Humana. Aetna denies any connection between its withdrawal and the DOJ lawsuit.
Analysts are concerned that the exodus of the three major health insurers will hurt competition, drive premiums up, and limit consumer choices.