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ACA Stability to Bring Customers More Choices

Premiums also will settle down after sharp increases
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 22, 2019 7:15 PM CDT
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Some ACA insurers are moving into new states, and others are expanding the options in states where they already do business.   (Getty/upixa)

(Newser) – Times are good, or at least calm, for health insurers that offer plans under the Affordable Care Act. So a number of them are moving into new states for 2020, sometimes into markets where consumers had few choices, according to the Wall Street Journal. Nebraska, for example, has only one ACA insurer; that will double next year when Bright Health moves in. Other insurers plan more offerings in the states where they already do business, including Anthem in California and Virginia. Claims costs are no longer running ahead of revenue, after major increases in premiums. "The market is now clearly stabilizing," said the chief executive of Oscar.

The outlook on premiums has improved for customers, with some being raised slightly and others being lowered, per Business Insider. Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina is dropping its average ACA premium 5.5%; it's among the insurers whose spending on care hasn't kept pace with ACA requirements, and it has to spend more or send money back to its customers. So some of this is a correction for past overpriced premiums. For insurers, after years of political turmoil and threats, the ACA business can be quite profitable now. For consumers without subsidies, ACA coverage can still be out of reach. But for those who receive assistance, a health policy expert said, "this is a stable, functional, mature market." (Read more Affordable Care Act stories.)

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