A small employer with low health claims may feel pressure to self-insure. (Image: Thinkstock)

U.S. insurers had better luck with getting more people into the privately administered versions of government plans in the third quarter of 2016 than at increasing enrollment in their ordinary commercial health coverage.

Analysts at Mark Farrah Associates have published data on insurers’ continuing shift toward the government plan market in the firm’s latest quarterly enrollment trends report.

Related: Insured small-group plan count drops 25% in two years

The McMurray, Pennsylvania-based firm bases the enrollment reports on documents insurers and managed care companies file with state regulators.

The firm found that carriers’ managed Medicaid plans continued to grow rapidly in the third quarter.

Enrollment in managed Medicaid plans reached 50 million in the quarter. That was up 9 percent from the enrollment total for the third quarter of 2015.

Here’s how enrollment changed at other types of plans over that same period:

            • Medicare Advantage plans: Rose 4 percent, to 18 million.

            • Self-insured employer health plans: Rose 2 percent, to 119 million.

            • Fully insured employer plans: Held steady at 59.5 million.

            • Individual and family major medical policies: Fell 1 percent, to 19 million.

The effects of insurers’ recent losses on Affordable Care Act exchange business, and uncertainty about how Trump administration changes might affect the individual market, appear to explain the drop in individual coverage enrollment, the Mark Farrah analysts write. 

Related:

Mark Farrah: Insurers likely lost $6 billion in 2015 individual health losses 

3 important health enrollment findings

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