More Insurers Are Entering The Individual Insurance Market In 2019

Julia Cohen | Reporter

Insurance users on the individual market will have more options for plans in 2019 than in 2018, according to a study from consulting firm Avalere Health released Wednesday.

The research, based on 10 states and the District of Columbia, found that in all states studied either no insurers left the market or new insurers entered the market. Seven states studied also will have more plan options, even if no new insurers entered the market.

“The rate filings suggest we may see increased competition and plan choice in many exchanges in 2019,” Kelly Brantley, vice president at Avalere, said, according to a Wednesday press release accompanying the data. “Greater plan choice will allow consumers to select a plan that best meets their health coverage needs.” (RELATED: The Federal Government Is No Longer Obligated To Bail Out Insurance Companies)

The findings are in contrast to predictions that insurers would leave the individual market with the repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate. American Academy of Actuaries Health Practice Council member Shari Westerfield wrote a letter to Senate leaders in 2017 when the repeal was being decided on warning that an individual mandate repeal would lead to insurers leaving the market.

“Increased uncertainty and instability regarding future enrollment, premium rates, and risk pool profiles if coverage incentives are eliminated would increase the risk of insurers incurring losses,” the November 2017 letter said.

However, the increase in choice will likely be offset by an increase in premiums, according to the Avalere report. In the states studied, there was an average of a 12 percent increase for premium costs from 2018 to 2019.

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