Obamacare exchange users will have an average of 2.9 plans to choose from in 2017. That’s down from 5.3 plans in 2016. 21% of exchange users will only have one plan to select.
President Obama promised that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would increase competition and choice in insurance markets. In a 2009 speech to a joint session of Congress, for example, the president said, “Individuals and small businesses will be able to shop for health insurance at competitive prices. Insurance companies will have an incentive to participate in this exchange because it lets them compete for millions of new customers.” This claim, along with many othersmade by ACA supporters, have proven to be wrong. In fact, Americans have far fewer choices for individual market coverage today than they had before the ACA took effect and there is a rapidly declining number of insurers now offering coverage in the ACA exchanges.
Earlier this week, a report from the Obama administration revealed that 25% fewer insurers will be offering exchange coverage in 2017 than offered coverage in 2016. This decline is on top of the more than 25% reduction in the number of insurers offering coverage in the individual market between 2013 and 2016. Further, in 2017, the weighted average number of carriers participating in each county will be 2.9—a nearly 50% decline from 5.7 average carriers participating in each county in 2015.