New York Market Shrinking While Others Increase

Contrary to the national reports, the New York market is shrinking as carriers exit the market due to their requested rate increases being denied by the review board.

Several high-circulation outlets and beltway sources report the news of more insurers joining the marketplaces created under the Affordable Care Act. The news is seen as good for the Obama Administration and the landmark health law. Fewer outlets cover news of a precipitous drop in the number of uninsured individuals in the United States, which was announced in the same speech and also bodes well for the ACA.

The Wall Street Journal (9/23, Radnofsky, Subscription Publication) reports that, according to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), more insurance companies are joining the health insurance exchanges created under the Affordable Care Act. Out of the 43 states and Washington DC where insurers have formally stated their intentions, 33 will see at least one new company offer plans during the ACA’s second annual open enrollment period. In a speech before the Brookings Institution, HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell announced the change, noting the new entries are projected to increase the total number of participating insurers by 25%, from 252 last year to 316. The department also released a report (PDF) on the new entrants.

The Washington Post (9/23, Millman) “Wonkblog” reports that Secretary Burwell used the occasion to tout the success of the landmark health law to date, saying “When you consider the law through the lens of affordability, access and quality, the evidence points to a clear conclusion: the Affordable Care Act is working.” She added, “Middle class families have more security, and many who already had insurance have better coverage.”

Fox News’ News Business Willis Report (9/23, 5:19 p.m. EDT) noted that, in addition to 77 incoming companies, “14 insurers are dropping out of the Obamacare system.”
Congressional Quarterly (9/24, Subscription Publication) reports that no state offering data so far will see a decrease in the number of insurers participating in an exchange, though 11 states will have exactly the same number as last year.
The Washington Times (9/24, Dinan) puts the latest ACA news in a broader context, citing continuing Republican opposition to the Obama Administration’s implementation of the law and uncertainties over the security and stability of healthcare.gov.

The Hill (9/24, Viebeck) reports that Burwell has been working “behind the scenes” to calm the often fiery opposition to the ACA, meeting with Republicans and emphasizing good news about the law.

Politico (9/23, Haberkorn, Norman) says the news shows the insurance industry is betting that the implementation of the ACA will continue, regardless of which party controls the Senate come January.

The New York Times (9/24, Pear, Subscription Publication) reports the numbers presented by the government “are generally consistent with reports by some insurers,” which have indicated they are “moving into additional states because they see the government-subsidized market as a business opportunity.”

For example, Reuters (9/23, Morgan, Humer) reports that UnitedHealth Group, America’s largest health insurer, plans to expand its exchange presence from a an extremely limited offering in a handful of states last year to giving consumers in most states access to its policies.

Also covering the news are the AP (9/24), CNN (9/23, Luhby), CNBC’s Power Lunch (9/23, 1:30 p.m. EDT), the Kansas Health Institute (9/23), the New Orleans Times-Picayune (9/24), the Chicago Tribune (9/23), Crain’s Chicago Business (9/23), Forbes (9/23, Japsen), The Hill (9/24, Ferris), the New York Business Journal (9/23, Robinson), the Washington Business Journal (9/24, Hoover, Subscription Publication), CNBC (9/24, Mangan), and Modern Healthcare (9/23, Demko, Subscription Publication).

Jeffrey R. Ungvary President

Jeffrey R. Ungvary