Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
Premiums are going down and competition is going up as we head into the next Affordable Care Act enrollment period.
The big picture: Those are both good signs. But those metrics are improving, in part, because they got so much worse over the past several years.
By the numbers: The average premium for a 27-year-old, for a middle-of-the-road plan, will be 4% lower in 2020 than it was this year, the Health and Human Services Department announced yesterday.
- There will be 20 more insurers selling plans through HealthCare.gov, for a total of 175.
Yes, but: These lower premiums and increased competition will benefit people who get federal help paying their premiums, but unsubsidized consumers have fled the market and aren’t likely to come back.
- The Trump administration has not tried to stop that exodus. Instead, it has opened up more access to inexpensive, often bare-bones options outside of the exchanges.
- Insurers initially mispriced their plans, then settled into a more stable market, then freaked out in response to many of Trump’s actions, and are now settling back down again.
Our thought bubble: The Affordable Care Act is neither collapsing nor thriving. It is, like all of us, hangin’ in there.