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7 Strange Things About the 2020 Individual Major Medical Market

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The individual major medical insurance open enrollment period for 2020 coverage is set to start Nov. 1 in most of the country, and “What will the individual major medical market be like over the next year?” still looks like a trick question.

Most of the health insurers that are brave enough to still be in the individual market say they are happy with how their individual major medical units have done this year, and that they’re optimistic about 2020.

(Related: Individual Health Volume May Be Doing This Shocking Thing)

Executives at Centene Corp., for example, said the company will be offering individual major medical coverage in more counties in the states that are already in its individual major medical market footprint.

Insurance regulators in many states have said that, in part because of new, state-run reinsurance programs, the full cost of individual major medical coverage has stabilized.

Officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services (CMS) say a key premium benchmark — the average premium for the second lowest cost silver plan available to a 27-year-old  who buys coverage through HealthCare.gov — will be 4% lower in 2020 than in 2019.

The total number of issuers selling coverage through HealthCare.gov will increase to 175, up from 155 for 2019, and up from 132 for 2018.

The number of agents and brokers who have signed up to help people enroll in the coverage offered through the federal government’s HealthCare.gov Affordable Care Act (ACA) public exchange system has increased to more than 42,000, up 7.7% from the total who had registered by Oct. 28, 2018, to handle 2019 HealthCare.gov open enrollment period signups.

Right now, agents and brokers seem to be happier with HealthCare.gov than with the CMS Medicare Plan Finder tool for private Medicare plans. Senior Market Sales Inc. has attracted attention by offering a system that can help Medicare plan agents cope with the problems with the official plan directory system.

Then there’s Congress, the White House, and the federal courts.

For a look at seven reasons why financial professionals might gape at anyone who makes confident statements about what the individual major medical market is really like now, let alone what it might be like a few days from now, see the idea cards in the slideshow above. (To make the control arrows show up, wiggle your mouse over the first slide.)

— Read Agents Beat Nonprofit Navigators: HealthCare.gov Boss, on ThinkAdvisor.

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