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Insurance Markets

  • Profit Outlook Brightens for Obamacare Insurers  The Hill by Jessie Hellmann —  The Obamacare doomsday scenario that many Republicans and Democrats predicted for 2018 is unlikely to come to pass, with insurers having adapted to the uncertainty that marked President Trump’s first year in office.  Insurers who decided to stick with Obamacare after a tumultuous 2017 are likely to have a relatively profitable year, analysts and experts predict, for reasons including higher-than-expected enrollment. So far, both parties look to be wrong: 8.7 million people signed up for Obamacare plans for 2018, half a million fewer than the previous year. Insurers adapted to changes, raising premiums to make up for the expected loss of the payments. And because Obamacare’s subsidies are designed to increase with premiums, the federal government actually ended up spending more on subsidies for canceling the payments.

  • Estimated Number of Health Plans on Federal Exchange Plummets by Two-Thirds  Modern Healthcare by Virgil Dickson — The Trump administration is estimating there are now only 700 issuers in the individual and small-group markets, which is down from 2,400 in an earlier estimate. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) posted the updated figure in an information collection notice posted Jan. 8. The agency is seeking permission from the White House's Office of Management and Budget to continue an annual data collection from exchange plans about the risk profile of their enrollees.

  • Health Care Just Became the U.S.'s Largest Employer  The Atlantic by Derek Thomson — This moment was inevitable. It just wasn’t supposed to happen so soon.  Due to the inexorable aging of the country — and equally unstoppable growth in medical spending — it was long obvious that health-care jobs would slowly take up more and more of the economy. But in the last quarter, for the first time in history, health care has surpassed manufacturing and retail, the most significant job engines of the 20th century, to become the largest source of jobs in the U.S. In 2000, there were 7 million more workers in manufacturing than in health care. At the beginning of the Great Recession, there were 2.4 million more workers in retail than health care. In 2017, health care surpassed both. This isn’t the end of health care’s run. It’s just the beginning. Of the 10 jobs that the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects will see the fastest percent growth in the next decade, five are in health care and elderly assistance.

  • Number of Americans Without Health Insurance Grows in Trump's First Year, New Figures Show  Los Angeles Times by Noam Levey - The number of Americans without health coverage, which declined for years after passage of the Affordable Care Act, shot up in President Trump's first year in office, according to data from a new national survey. At the end of 2017, 12.2 percent of U.S. adults lacked health insurance, up from 10.9 percent at the end of 2016, as President Obama was completing his final term.

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