Insurers have been turning profits on their individual coverage after raising rates and narrowing their provider networks. And the financial success brought about by narrow networks only means they will spread across the country, limiting choices of physicians and other providers of medical care.
The narrow network strategy has become more common for insurers offering Obamacare coverage as a way to control costs. It will be more difficult for insurers to expand doctor networks after the Republican-led Congress failed to include its $1.3 trillion spending bill reinsurance programs and money to restore funds to help Americans afford their co-payments and deductibles.
“Broader network commercial plans, or PPOs, are finding it more difficult to survive, particularly in nonrural areas,” Urban Institute researchers wrote in a report earlier this week as part of their tracking of insurers who remain in ACA markets.
Half of U.S. counties are covered by a single insurer , which already limits provider choices to those contracted with those plans even if insurers allow customers to go outside the network at a greater cost.