Fewer local residents bought health insurance through the Affordable Care Act marketplace this year, according to newly released federal data.
For the nine county region, there were 28,367 people who bought plans this enrollment season, compared to 32,684 the year prior. That’s a 13.2 percent drop compared to the prior enrollment season.
In Montgomery County alone, about 1,500 fewer people bought individual plans this year on the exchange.
For Ohio, enrollment dropped about 10 percent from year to year.
The drop comes as the economy improves, which could expand the number of people with insurance through an employer. This enrollment season there was also less federal money spent on outreach, there weren’t penalties for those who chose not to buy insurance and there was increased competition from cheap short-term plans with limited benefits.
The average cost of a health insurance plan also continued to rise this year, which was mostly felt by middle-class enrollees who don’t qualify for subsidies. The average monthly premium in Ohio rose from 5.6 percent to $538 in 2019.
There were also more options to chose from this year. Anthem started selling plans again in Ohio for this year, reversing on its dramatic exit from the Obamacare exchanges during 2018.
In 2018, eight companies sold health insurance products on the exchange in Ohio and 42 counties had just one insurer with an additional 20 counties having only two. This year 10 companies sold Ohio plans, there were 16 counties with just one insurer and 33 counties with two.
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