Indiana enrollment in health exchanges plunges 11 percent

  • Comments
  • Print

More than 174,000 Hoosiers signed up for health insurance this year under the Affordable Care Act, a decline of about 11 percent from a year ago.

The downturn occurred while President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress were pushing to get rid of the ACA. That effort ultimately failed, as Speaker Paul Ryan on Friday pulled a bill known as the American Health Care Act, or ACHA, that would have repealed and replaced Obamacare. Ryan said he didn’t have enough votes to pass the bill.

“We're going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future,” Ryan declared.

But the push to kill Obamacare could have dampened enrollment this year, and that could hurt hospitals, according to Fitch Ratings analyst Megan Neuburger.

“The failure of the AHCA to move forward means that the ACA exchanges will be ostensibly functioning in 2018, but hospital companies will likely face higher levels of uncompensated care as fewer individuals enroll in exchange products,” she wrote Monday.

Nationally, an estimated 12 million people bought coverage this cycle on the ACA health insurance exchanges during open enrollment, a drop of about 5 percent.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services reported that 174,611 Indiana residents bought coverage, nearly 22,000 fewer than a year ago.

The agency reported the enrollment figures on March 15. Open enrollment closed on January 31.

The figures show that about one-quarter of the Indiana enrollees live in rural areas. Nearly one-third of the enrollees are aged 55 to 64. Only 22 percent were between 18 and 34, often considered the healthiest age bracket, and one that helps offset the higher health costs of older, sicker Americans.

Nearly three-quarters of the enrollees qualified for tax credits, based on their income. The average monthly premium, after tax credits, was $229.

The most popular type of plan was the silver plan (bought by 70 percent of enrollees), followed by bronze (25 percent), gold (4 percent) and catastrophic (less than 1 percent). No Indiana residents bought the most expensive category, known as the platinum plan, on the exchange.

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Editor's note: IBJ is now using a new comment system. Your Disqus account will no longer work on the IBJ site. Instead, you can leave a comment on stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Past comments are not currently showing up on stories, but they will be added in the coming weeks. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.