9 statistics about next year's ACA marketplaces

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With 2.3 million Affordable Care Act marketplace enrollees facing the choice of one insurer next year — up 2 million from 2016 —  insurer pullbacks may threaten competition in nearly a third of U.S. counties.

An updated Kaiser Family Foundation analysis — requested by The Wall Street Journal — looked at the distribution of exchange enrollment by the number of insurers in 2016 compared to the potential distribution next year.

Here are nine key statistics from the analysis.

1. Sixty-two percent of 2017 marketplace enrollees will be able to choose from three or more insurers, down from 85 percent in 2016.

2. Approximately 7.9 million enrollees will have three or more marketplace insurers to choose from next year. The majority — 7.4 million — live in primarily urban counties, and 504,000 live in primarily rural counties.

3. Sixty-six percent of primarily urban counties will have a choice of three or more marketplace insurers in 2017, compared to 33 percent of primarily rural counties.

4. About six in 10 counties may have two or fewer marketplace insurers next year.

5. Approximately 1.7 million enrollees living in urban counties will face single insurer marketplaces next year, or about 15 percent of all enrollees in urban counties. This is up from 2 percent in 2016.

6. Approximately 629,000 enrollees living in rural counties will face single insurer marketplaces next year, or about 41 percent of all marketplace enrollees in rural counties. This is up from 7 percent in 2016.

7. While 7 percent of U.S. counties (225) in 2016 had a single marketplace insurer, 31 percent (974) may face a single marketplace insurer in 2017. The analysis attributed the majority of the increase to Minnetonka, Minn.-based UnitedHealthcare's ACA exit.

8. Five states will have one insurer in all counties next year: Alabama, Alaska, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Wyoming (which had only one insurer in the state this year).

9. The number of counties with significantly more single marketplace insurers includes Arizona (87 percent of counties may have one insurer in 2017 as opposed to 0 percent in 2016), Mississippi (80 percent vs. 0 percent), Missouri (85 percent vs. 2 percent), Florida (73 percent vs. 0 percent), North Carolina (90 percent vs. 23 percent) and Tennessee (60 percent vs. 0 percent).

More articles about payer issues:
Aetna's credit prospects improve following ACA pullback
NY's low-cost health plan may drive up premium
Tennessee commissioner: State exchange on verge of collapse

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