While the individual insurance market is alive and fairly healthy in large mostly Blue states….Rural states ARE having BIG problems….
Politico takes an extensive look at the problems in Iowa and how rising rates, insurance companies mistakes, State miscues , and bad plans are making its people mad at Republicans in the current Congress….Not the Democrats whom passed the healthcare program which they joined and now is causing them anguish ….
t was always going to be difficult to build a viable individual insurance market in a predominantly rural state like Iowa. One big reason for that: Insurers have little bargaining power with major health care providers that they need to create viable networks for their customers. California, which has a thriving Obamacare marketplace, has more than four times as many residents per square mile than Iowa.
“It’s hard to build inexpensive networks when the only hospital within 30 miles has you over a barrel,” said Dave Anderson, a health insurance expert at Duke University who has written extensively about the Obamacare markets.
But there were also crucial developments that further undermined Iowa’s marketplace from the outset. The state’s dominant insurer, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, which controls about three quarters of the state’s market, decided not to sell plans on the Obamacare marketplace from the outset. There was just one other state nationwide, Mississippi, where the dominant Blue plan opted not to participate.
“They were sitting on the healthy, profitable members in the state. They had no good reason to get on the exchange,” Anderson said. “The risk pool on the exchange was going to be a very sick risk pool.”
State regulators also made a critical decision during the first open-enrollment season in 2013: They decided to allow plans that don’t meet the coverage requirements of the Affordable Care Act to remain in place. That became possible after the Obama administration, facing an intense backlash over canceled plans and the disastrous launch of HealthCare.gov, gave states the option of grandfathering in noncompliant plans.
Iowa officials were far from alone in allowing plans that don’t meet Obamacare’s coverage requirements to stay on the market, but the implications were far more significant in the state. As of May, more than half of the state’s individual market—roughly 80,000 individuals—remained in noncompliant plans. Nationwide, that figure is closer to 10 percent, according to data crunched by Charles Gaba, who runs a blog that tracks Obamacare enrollment….
Nobody knows exactly what to expect when open enrollment begins on Nov. 1.
That uncertainty is compounded by the continuing disarray in Washington over how to deal with Obamacare. Congressional Republicans have repeatedly failed in their efforts to repeal and replace the law, and the prospects for passing a bipartisan package to stabilize the markets appear grim.
“It’s really truly amazing that we could have this much uncertainty at any given time,” said Doug Cropper, CEO of Genesis Health System, which operates in the Quad Cities region. “It’s just very, very unique in my 36-year career.”
At the same time, the Trump administration has taken steps that have further destabilized the wobbly markets. Earlier this month, the White House announced that it’s cutting off subsidy payments that insurers rely on to reduce out-of-pocket costs for their poorest Obamacare customers. That means insurers are jacking up premiums by an additional 15 percent or more to account for the funding shortfall….
The chaotic situation in Iowa could have political ramifications for 2018 and beyond. Trump has blamed the troubled Obamacare markets on Democrats, but polling data suggest the public will overwhelmingly fault Republicans for future problems. That could spell trouble for candidates on the ballot next year, including Gov. Reynolds and Reps. Rod Blum and David Young, who are top Democratic targets.
“They either have to decide they’re going to go after Trump for roiling the Iowa market or they have to stand by him,”…
It IS this dogs feeling that Congress will vote to allocate subsidy money by the years end, which will be after the Insurance companies have to set their rates in a little over a week….
Congress NEVER does well on deadlines and Trump throwing the issue back at Congress , while dancing on what he wants does NOTHING to help things….
Make no mistake….
If the market thing does NOT calm down?
This healthcare thing WILL land in Republican laps…..This isn’t about President Obama and the Democrats…It’;s about people in Washington that want to take away small , rural peoples healthcare insurance and send them back Emergency Rooms for coverage….
Iowa on Monday withdrew a request to waive some Obamacare rules to help shore up its struggling healthcare insurance market, marking a setback in efforts by Republican-governed states to sidestep requirements of the Obama-era law.
With open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act – better known as Obamacare – set to start in just over a week, the state announced it would no longer wait to hear if federal officials would approve its request aimed at cutting individual healthcare insurance premiums and widening coverage.
The withdrawal prompted a leading U.S. Senate Republican to urge Congress to approve a bipartisan fix to Obamacare, which President Donald Trump has vowed to scrap….
(Above Bold by me)
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