Feds tout exchange benefits despite lack of competition for 2017

Despite the withdrawal of some insurers from government-run health insurance exchanges, federal officials insist the Affordable Care Act is still working to provide more consumers with coverage and choices.

The administration of President Barack Obama has been pressed to defend the landmark health care reform in recent weeks as major companies have moved to dramatically reduce their participation in the exchanges, including in Missouri.

Aetna, which operates as Coventry in Missouri, announced last week it is pulling back in 2017; UnitedHealth Group previously announced its exit from the Missouri individual market. These exits mean consumers in a majority of counties in Missouri will have only one insurance carrier option on HealthCare.gov, the website where exchange plans can be purchased.

Several insurance companies in Missouri also have disclosed plans to raise premiums, some significantly. But officials downplay the effect of those rate increases, saying most consumers are protected from rate increases by tax credits that are tied to income.

Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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