More than half of Americans have been hit with cancellation notices from the Affordable Care Act’s insurance exchanges as insurance companies struggle to keep up with surging costs.
Key points:The Affordable Care Bill passed by Congress in 2010 gave states a year to set up their own exchangesBut the rollout has been delayed as the Obama administration attempts to stabilize the marketThe ACA’s main purpose is to make insurance more affordableBut the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said the rollout of the new insurance law has been halted because of a failure to build enough capacity in the exchanges.
“The rollout has not been able to keep pace with the needs of consumers and insurers,” the agency wrote in a report released on Wednesday.
“As of the first quarter of 2019, there were more than 3.1 million consumers enrolled in new coverage plans, and 2.2 million people were enrolled in ACA health insurance plans.
These are the largest single group of enrollees in the ACA.
In addition, the enrollment rate for the ACA-compliant plans was higher than the rate of enrollee enrollment in the non-ACA plans.”
But the CBO added that, as of March, more than 700,000 Americans were enrolled, up from about 200,000 in the first three months of the year.
The failure to have enough health insurers participating in the exchange has left the health insurance market as a whole without any insurers in 2018, with only the largest insurers, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield and Humana, continuing to offer coverage in the market.
Health insurance analysts have estimated that the number of people who would lose coverage if the new health insurance law were to be implemented was between 9 million and 12 million, or 20% of the total population.
The insurance market has also been affected by an increasing number of patients who are going without coverage for the first time.
“For many people, their insurance will continue to be canceled,” the CBO wrote.
“Because the ACA has not yet taken effect, there is a risk that people will experience a spike in costs because of the lack of insurance and/or because they are receiving too much coverage.”
Health insurance companies have been required by law to cover people with pre-existing conditions, such as cancer, mental illness and asthma, and people with disabilities.
However, the Congressional budget office said that, while many insurance companies are likely to keep providing coverage to these people, it is possible that some of them could be forced to change their policies.
“These changes may occur due to circumstances beyond their control, such, for example, changes in consumer demand for health insurance,” the report said.
“Additionally, many insurers have already changed their policies to meet consumer demand, including by requiring individuals to pay premiums for coverage in addition to the cost of coverage.”CBO said that some insurers have decided to discontinue offering coverage to individuals who were previously covered, although that is not an option for everyone.
“It is possible, however, that some individuals with pre or post-existing health conditions will continue, or may be eligible for, coverage under the ACA,” the bureau wrote.
It is unclear what effect the ACA’s rollout will have on the economy, but the CBO said it could have a major effect on the health care system.
“If people with existing health conditions cannot get coverage because they do not have insurance, the uninsured could become a significant burden to health care systems in the years to come,” the researchers said.
“Additionally, some individuals may find it more difficult to obtain affordable insurance because of health problems.”
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