May 8, 2019 - Health Care

Health insurers are thriving in the individual market

Reproduced from Kaiser Family Foundation; Chart: Axios Visuals

Insurers on the individual market are expected to pay a record total of about $800 million in rebates to enrollees, a result of setting their premiums too high last year, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation analysis.

  • Insurers raised premiums in 2018 by an average of 26% — a response to political uncertainty surrounding the Affordable Care Act.
  • But instead of market chaos, insurers saw their best financial performance yet under the ACA, as per-person claims rose by only 7%.
  • Utilization also remained steady in 2018, meaning healthy people didn't flee the marketplace.

The big picture: The analysis suggests that the ACA marketplaces are stable and profitable for insurers, even if individual market enrollees tend to be sicker than they were pre-ACA.

The bottom line: Despite all of the worrying about the Trump administration's policies, this is "not exactly a market that’s collapsing," Kaiser's Larry Levitt tweeted.

Go deeper: Taking stock of Trump's drug rebate proposal

What's next

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Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

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Why this matters: The revelations present a dramatic 11th hour turn in Trump's Senate impeachment trial. They directly contradict Trump's claim that he never tied the hold-up of Ukrainian aid to his demands for investigations into his political opponent Joe Biden.

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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