After withdrawals of major insurers from Obamacare exchanges, four states — Alaska, Alabama, Wyoming and Oklahoma — have confirmed they will have just one insurer under the healthcare program for 2017.
While some states have approved rate increases of up to 50 percent, 25 states have approved average price hikes of nearly 25 percent, according to the enrollment tracking website ACASignups.net.
The unavailability of more options and offers for lower prices to consumers is likely to hamper the program altogether. During the last open enrollment, only Wyoming had one Obamacare insurer, according to an August study by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Alabama is the most hit after insurers pulled out of the Obamacare program. The state which boasted of three insurers, now just has Blue Cross Blue Shield after UnitedHealth and Humana pulled out, chief of staff for Alabama’s Department of Insurance Mark Fowler told the Washington Examiner.
Announcing losses, UnitedHealth said earlier this year it was leaving 34 states to which it offers Obamacare plans reason being losses. It also clarified that due to “higher medical claims than anticipated,” the company is set to lose $400 million this year.
Humana and Aetna also cited similar reasons for defection. While Humana is leaving four of 15 states it offers plans in, Aetna announced it would pull out from about 70 percent of its total Obamacare markets.
Also it has been estimated that there could be more states with only one insurer. For instance, consulting firm Avalere Health in July estimated that seven states would have only one carrier.
Another estimates by Kaiser for example, predicted that Mississippi would have only one insurer for 80 percent of the state and two insurers for 20 percent. On the same lines, Florida will have one insurer for 73 percent of the state, two for 12 percent and three insurers or more for 10 percent.
These estimates were released before the Sept. 23 deadline for plans to enter the marketplace following which the four states were contacted it was learned that they did not have new market entrants.
Besides the four states with one insurer, Avalere also predicted Kansas, North Carolina and South Carolina will follow the pattern.
Kansas’ insurance department confirmed to the Washington Examiner that it will have three carriers for 2017. While North Carolina said there will be two carriers, South Carolina will make the announcement by Oct. 7.