×

Fewer insurers are applying to participate in Obamacare exchanges

  • By the initial filing deadline, 141 insurers had applied to participate in exchanges, down from 227 at the same time last year, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
  • CMS administrator Seema Verma and Health and Humans Services Secretary Tom Price touted the decline as proof that Obamacare is failing.
  • The Senate returns to Washington this week after a Fourth of July recess, though the future of a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act remains uncertain.
A patient is monitored in an examination room inside the Clinical Decision Unit at Kaiser Permanente's Capitol Hill Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
Brooks Kraft LLC | Corbis | Getty Images
A patient is monitored in an examination room inside the Clinical Decision Unit at Kaiser Permanente's Capitol Hill Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

Fewer health insurers plan to participate in Obamacare exchanges next year, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

By the initial filing deadline, 141 issuers had applied to offer coverage compared to 227 at the same time last year, according to CMS. Last month, the agency published a map that showed as many as 1,200 counties could have just one insurer selling individual plans next year and that 47 could have none.

Health insurance companies started pulling out of marketplaces as they faced uncertainty over whether the Trump administration would continue to reimburse them for billions of dollars in subsidies for low-income customers.

CMS, the federal agency that oversees Obamacare, was once a vocal advocate of the program. Now a fierce critic, the agency touted the declining in applications as proof that Obamacare is failing.

"These numbers are clear: the status quo is not working," CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a press release. "The American people deserve healthcare choices and access to quality, affordable healthcare coverage."

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price echoed CMS' critique and pressed Congress to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

"Congress must act now to repair the damage Obamacare has inflicted and put in place a patient-centered system that is responsive to the needs of individuals and families, not the demands of Washington," Price said in a press release.

The Senate is back in town this week after a Fourth of July recess as the future of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's healthcare plan remains uncertain. It is possible a new version of the bill could come this week.