Last 'bare county' in U.S. to get health insurer next year

Lester Mason
August 26, 2017

CareConnect had to pay $112 million into the Affordable Care Act's risk-adjustment pool this year-about 44 percent of CareConnect's 2016 revenue from its small-group health plan-according to Michael Dowling, Northwell's president and chief executive officer. About 20 OH counties could have been left without ACA coverage in 2018, according to the state, causing about 11,000 people to lose their coverage.

As of Thursday, every county in the US will have at least one ObamaCare insurer in 2018.

Ohio's insurance regulators have found insurers to cover about 20 counties that could have been left without Obamacare coverage after other plans pulled out.

CareSource announced that it would fill the last remaining "bare" county in Paulding County in Ohio. About 10 million people, including 11,000 OH residents, now are served through and its state counterparts, a system created under the federal Affordable Care Act.

It appears everyone in the USA will have access to insurance in 2018, but things still aren't settled for many providers. Insurers were hit with heavy losses after struggling to attract enough young, healthy customers to offset the claims from those with health issues.

Insurers don't have to sign contracts for next year until the end of September, meaning some could still decide not to participate.

Although every US county will have an ACA option in 2018, the uncertain political environment surrounding healthcare means there is no guarantee those counties will have an option the following year.

Rural counties, in particular, have been particularly uninviting for them because they usually have a smaller, older customer base and a care provider like a hospital system with a dominant market position.

The Trump administration has backed efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, saying law has "failed to deliver".

One of the goals will be to come up with a bill to continue the "cost sharing reductions" that help some people afford co-pays and deductibles that are part of coverage gained through the ACA, or Obamacare.

Refusing to make those payments, as President Donald Trump has threatened, could be a death blow to Obamacare.

Even though all counties are now covered, consumers still face few or no choices in some places because of the pullbacks.

Expert say insurers stepping into the breach were also enticed by the prospect of grabbing all the market share in these counties and a free hand to charge relatively high rates, since Obamacare's subsidies blunt the cost for more than 80 percent of customers.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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