Wednesday, May 03, 2017

And then there were ... None? [UPDATED]

[Big news - scroll down for update]

We've blogged before about what happens when there's only one carrier left in a state (here, for example). But it appears that we're about to enter uncharted territory.

Last month, we noted that Hawkeye State residents would likely learn themselves about the implications of having but a single carrier, and a relatively small, regional one at that:

"Now Aetna is exiting Iowa’s Obamacare market.  I believe that leaves only Medica who has been very non-committal about continuing (although I’d guess they will ask for a ridiculous premium increase and corner the market since HHS and the Iowa Insurance Division will have no other choice)."

Turns out, that was the best case scenario. Co-Blogger Patrick alerts us to the latest:

"Medica, the last insurer selling individual health policies in most of Iowa, likely to exit ... Tens of thousands of Iowans could be left with no health insurance options next year, after the last carrier for most of the state announced Wednesday that it likely would stop selling individual health policies here."

So what happens when there are literally no carriers left in a given market? This goes far beyond the stupid promise that "if you like your plan, you can keep it."

Exit question: Can a state unilaterally force a carrier to sell plans?

Guess we'll see.

UPDATE: FoIB Holly R just alerted us that:

"Aetna to exit Virginia Obamacare individual insurance market"

One of the few carriers still standing looks like it's about to pull a Medica and vamoose from the Old Dominion state.

This leaves Virginia with just a handful of carriers.

For now....
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