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US Individual Insurance Market Grows 46% in First Year Under ACA, Study Finds


In 2014, low- and moderate-income consumers were able to use premium subsidies to buy health coverage on Marketplaces under the Affordable Care Act. The individual health insurance market had been relatively flat for 3 years' prior.

The US individual insurance market grew 46% in 2014, the first year that consumers could buy health plans on Marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act, according to an analysis released this week by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF).

The individual market grew to 15.5 million people, bolstered by the numbers of low- and moderate-income families who had premium subsidies to shop on the Marketplaces for health coverage. The KFF analysis compared enrollment data from December 2013 to December 2014, based on filings from insurers to state regulators.

About half of this enrollment explosion took place in just 4 states: California (up 843,607), Florida (up 653,997), Texas (up 505,931), and Georgia (up 330,520). On a percentage bases, states that saw the increases of more than 75% were Arkansas (168%), Rhode Island (104%), Maine (93%), New York (89%), Georgia (79%), and Florida (77%).

Authors of the analysis note that Arkansas’ increase was affected by that state’s unique waiver for Medicaid expansion. The “private option” required those consumers earning between 100% and 138% of the federal poverty line to use federal dollars to seek coverage on the private market.

Colorado and Massachusetts saw slight decreases in their individual market enrollment. Massachusetts already had implemented health reform with significant shifts in coverage patterns. In Colorado, the KFF authors write, it is believed that some who had individual coverage shifted to the Medicaid expansion.

The individual insurance market covered 10.6 million people in 2013, a figure that had held steady for at least 3 years prior to the jump in 2014, according the figures in the analysis.

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