Louisiana saw its fifth annual drop in health insurance enrollment through the individual marketplace set up through President Barack Obama’s federal health overhaul law.
The Advocate reports that enrollment in the Affordable Care Act’s individual market fell to 83,159 this year, down from 87,748 policyholders last year. The program offers income-based, taxpayer-subsidized private health insurance plans for people who aren’t covered on the job.
At its peak enrollment in 2016, there were 214,148 policyholders in Louisiana. But it’s fallen each year since then.
Louisiana’s decline is part of a national trend. Enrollment across the country dropped from 8.28 million to 8.25 million in the 38 states that, like Louisiana, use the federal HealthCare.gov website for the individual marketplace.
Increased cost could be a factor in the marketplace in the decline. Last year, health insurance premiums went up an average of 10% in Louisiana’s individual marketplace.
“Blue Cross and other insurers price health care premiums for each year by estimating the costs of health care services members will need,” said Mike Bertaut, health care economist for Blue Cross Blue Shield Louisiana, which dominates the individual marketplace. “In the individual market, the risk pool is getting older on average, which means more people will need more health care services, and that drives up premium costs.”