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This Month's Cover

Volume XXXI
Summer / Fall

Outlook

Fewer issuers apply to participate in Health Insurance Exchanges for 2018

Less choice for consumers as issuer health plan applications drop 38 percent from last year

Now that the repeal of the Affordable Care Act has failed to pass, insurance companies are opting out of the health Insurance Exchange program nationwide. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) report 141 individual market qualified health plan (QHP) issuers submitted initial applications to offer coverage using the Federally-facilitated Exchange eligibility and enrollment platform in 2018. At the initial filing deadline last year, 227 issuers submitted an application compared to 141 this year, a 38 percent drop in filings.

“This is further proof that the Affordable Care Act is failing,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “Insurers continue to flee the Exchanges, causing Americans to lose their choice for health insurance or lose their coverage all together.”

At the beginning of the open enrollment period for 2017 coverage, issuer participation had fallen from 227 initial applicants to only 167 issuers actually participating, a drop of 26 percent. Each participating issuer is required to sign a final QHP contract by the end of September in order participate in the Exchange in 2018.

Insurance exchange chart

Submissions were made by issuers in the 39 states that use the Federal Exchange eligibility and enrollment platform. CMS expects this number to fluctuate over the next several months as it has in past years. Final figures will be released in mid-to-late August.