Nov 15, 2018

The long road back to ACA competition

Expand chart
Data: Kaiser Family Foundation; Note: 2019 analysis based on healthcare.gov filings as of Oct. 24, 2018; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The Affordable Care Act’s insurance marketplaces will be more competitive next year than they were this year, according to a report yesterday from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Yes, but: 2018 was the low point for ACA competition. The marketplaces still aren’t back to where they were in their best years — 2015 and 2016, when only a handful of ACA customers didn’t have a choice of insurers.

By the numbers: Insurers started bailing on the exchanges in 2017 and continued in 2018, leaving more than a quarter of ACA customers with only one available insurer.

  • Now that’s down to 17%. But there’s a long way to go before the competition is healthy again.

ACA enrollment, meanwhile, continues to lag noticeably behind last year's pace.

  • A little less than 1.2 million people have selected insurance plans through HealthCare.gov in the first 2 weeks of this open enrollment period — about 300,000 fewer than in the first 2 weeks of the last enrollment season.
  • Last year's "first 2 weeks" update included an extra day from this year's. But that alone does not explain such a steep drop.

Go deeper

How to understand the scale of American job decimation

Data: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics via St. Louis Fed; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Sentence from a nightmare: 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment last week, a decline from the previous week's 6.9 million.

The big picture: Over the past three weeks, 1 in 10 working-age adults filed for unemployment, Axios' Courtenay Brown notes.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 1,579,690 — Total deaths: 94,567 — Total recoveries: 346,780Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 452,582 — Total deaths: 16,129 — Total recoveries: 24,790Map.
  3. Public health latest: U.S. has expelled thousands of migrants under coronavirus public health orderDr. Anthony Fauci said social distancing could reduce the U.S. death toll to 60,000.
  4. Business latest: The Fed will lend up to $2.3 trillion for businesses, state and city governments — Another 6.6 million jobless claims were filed last week.
  5. World latest: Boris Johnson is moved out of ICU but remains in hospital with coronavirus.
  6. In Congress: Senate in stalemate over additional funding for small business relief program.
  7. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Biden rolls out new policies in effort to court Sanders supporters

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The Biden campaign announced two new policies on Thursday on health care and student debt that are squarely aimed at appealing to supporters of Bernie Sanders, who ended his campaign for the Democratic nomination on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The policies don't go as far as Sanders' platform, but they signal that Biden is serious about incorporating elements of his former rival's agenda in an effort to help unify the Democratic Party and defeat President Trump in the general election.