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Virginians Will Have More Healthcare Choices Next Year

AP Photo / Andrew Harnik

Despite fears that Virginia’s health insurance marketplace is imploding, people who are insured through the Affordable Care Act in Virginia will actually have more choices next year.

Two insurers will be pulling out of Virginia’s health-insurance marketplace next year. But according to filings with state regulators, the insurers who stick around are planning to expand the reach of their services. Jill Hanken is director of the Center for Healthy Communities at the Virginia Poverty Law Center.

“Every locality will have at least two insurance companies serving that area, and each of those companies will have a whole variety of plans available to consumers.”

The deadline for locking in final rates is next week. But if President Trump follows through on his threats to stop making the federal subsidies to help pay health insurance for low-income people, regulators are likely to be flexible. Sabrina Corlette at Georgetown University says no regulator wants to see insurance companies at risk of going out of business.

“I think they’ll pull ever lever they can to make sure that if an insurer is willing to stay in the market that their premiums cover their costs, even if that means making late changes to the premium rates past the official deadline.”

Things get trickier after November 1, when open enrollment starts for the insurance plans. Once customers enroll in plans, changing the premiums will be much more difficult.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.
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