Number of Health Insurers Applying to Participate in Obamacare Exchanges Declines 38%

Consumers will have fewer choices on exchanges


The number of health insurers applying to participate in the Obamacare exchanges has declined 38 percent since last year, according to data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Last year, there were 227 individual market qualified health plan insurers who submitted an application to offer coverage on the Affordable Care Act exchanges. This year, that number declined to 141, a drop of 86 insurers or 38 percent.

There is even a bigger decline from 2016 when there were 281 health insurers who applied, representing a 50 percent decrease.

"This is further proof that the Affordable Care Act is failing," said Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma.

"Insurers continue to flee the Exchanges, causing Americans to lose their choice for health insurance or lose their coverage all together," she said. "These numbers are clear: the status quo is not working. The American people deserve healthcare choices and access to quality, affordable healthcare coverage."

So far this year, both Anthem and Aetna—two major health insurers—have announced they are planning exits from the marketplace, which will leave some areas in the country with no choice for an insurer.

Recent data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services show there will be 49 counties with no insurer next year and roughly 1,300 counties with only one insurer participating.

"We continue to see a decline in issuer participation in the Health Insurance Exchanges leaving consumers with fewer and fewer insurance options," said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. "I am deeply concerned about the crisis situation facing the individual market in many states across the nation."

Ali Meyer

Ali Meyer   Email Ali | Full Bio | RSS
Ali Meyer is a staff writer with the Washington Free Beacon covering economic issues that expose government waste, fraud, and abuse. Prior to the Free Beacon, she was a multimedia reporter with where her work appeared on outlets such as Drudge Report and Fox News. She also interned with the Heritage Foundation and Pacific Research Institute. Her Twitter handle is @DJAliMeyer, and her email address is

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