DARKE COUNTY — Get ready to feel some more pain as it regards healthcare — Ohioans will see fewer options for health insurance providers in 2017.
Last week in a conference call with reporters, Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor said the number of insurers available will drop from 17 to 11 in the coming year.
“There are many counties in Ohio that are going to have a significant impact under Obamacare going into 2017,” she said.
“During 2016, all 88 counties in Ohio had at least four carriers to choose from on the exchange. In 2017, 20 counties will have only one carrier, and another 27 will have only two carriers,” she added.
Open enrollment for insurance began November 1 and the period will last through January 31, 2017.
“In 2016, we a little less than 250,000 Ohioans who signed up for exchange plans through the healthcare dot gov website. Obviously we have no way to know what 2017 will look like until that open enrollment period is over,” said Taylor.
Taylor stated that in addition to fewer insurer options, the costs continue to rise and consumers are “frustrated.”
“Premiums have gone up by 91 percent, in the individual market, since 2013. Over this last year premiums increased by nearly 13 percent,” she said.
Taylor pointed to Aetna as one of the insurers who have found it impossible to “keep their heads above water.”
“They are losing money on the exchange,” she said. “They’re finding that the enrollment is not what they expected it to be, and the people who have enrolled are sicker and require more medical expenses than was originally predicted. And there’s also not enough younger, healthy people signing up in those exchange plans to help offset the cost.”
Residents of Darke County seeking Obamacare coverage will have the option of only two federal insurers in 2017: Community Insurance Company and Premier Health Plan, Inc.
According to the Ohio Department of Insurance (ODI), the following 11 insurance carriers will be selling individual exchange products in the state in 2017:
- AultCare Insurance Company
- Buckeye Community Health Plan
- Community Insurance Company
- Consumers Life Insurance Company
- Humana Health Plan of Ohio
- Medical Health Insuring Corp. of Ohio
- Molina Healthcare of Ohio, Inc.
- Paramount Insurance Company
- Premier Health Plan, Inc.
- Summa Insurance Company
The ODI website (insuranc.ohio.gov) presents a question-and-answer section regarding the changes.
Who is impacted by these changes on the federal exchange?
Every Ohioan is impacted to some degree by the changes established by the ACA. Ohioans seeking insurance coverage on the federal exchange are directly impacted. Those seeking a plan on the exchange have fewer choices for coverage during open enrollment this fall. Even consumers buying coverage off-exchange may see less choice.
What is causing these changes to Ohio’s health insurance market?
Ohio’s insurance market is different than many others around the country. Because Ohio had so many insurance carriers selling in Ohio and because Ohio didn’t require a lot of mandated coverage beforethe ACA, there was more choice for consumers and a wider range of prices. The ACA has narrowed the market in Ohio resulting in less choice for many consumers.
Why are insurers no longer offering coverage in certain areas?
The Department cannot speak for any one insurer, but less coverage across the state means less choice. The change in the market is the result of more rules for selling health insurance which drives up the cost to sell products.
Why have insurers left the exchange?
The Department cannot speak for any one insurer, but the exchange’s rules and requirements make it more difficult for some companies to justify taking the risk to sell federally compliant products.
I need assistance to understand my situation and my options. Who should I contact?
During exchange open enrollment, the best first step is to contact an agent or broker. Additionally, consumers may contact the federal exchange in Ohio directly by visiting www.healthcare.gov or by calling 800-318-2596. However, if consumers are having problems with their coverage, claims disputes, or other concerns with their policy they can certainly contact the Ohio Department of Insurance.