May 8, 2019

Health insurers are thriving in the individual market

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
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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

Go deeper

Trump forces fateful choices on Twitter and Facebook

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump's war with Twitter is confronting social media platforms with a hard dilemma: whether to take fuller responsibility for what people say on their services, or to step back and assume a more quasi-governmental role.

The big picture: Facebook is trying to be more like a government committing to impartiality and protecting free speech and building mechanisms for arbitration. Twitter, pushed by Trump's inflammatory messages, is opting to more aggressively enforce conduct rules on its private property, like a mall owner enforcing rules inside the gates.

Updated 20 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 5,851,494 — Total deaths: 362,238 — Total recoveries — 2,445,181Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 1,729,185 — Total deaths: 101,706 — Total recoveries: 399,991 — Total tested: 15,646,041Map.
  3. 2020: North Carolina asks RNC if convention will honor Trump's wish for no masks or social distancing.
  4. Public health: Hydroxychloroquine prescription fills exploded in March —How the U.S. might distribute a vaccine.
  5. Transportation: National mobility keeps rising as more states reopen economies.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Saying goodbye to U.S. megacities.

Obama on George Floyd's death: "This shouldn't be 'normal'"

Photo: Getty Images/Getty Images for EIF & XQ

Former President Obama said in a statement Friday that the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was killed by a white Minneapolis police officer, "shouldn't be 'normal' in 2020 America."

What he's saying: "[W]e have to remember that for millions of Americans being treated differently on account of race is tragically, painfully, maddeningly 'normal' — whether it’s while dealing with the health care system, or interacting with the criminal justice system, or jogging down the street, or watching birds in a park."