Individual market grew 46 percent in ACA's first year

Nearly 5 million signed up for an individual health plan in 2014, Kaiser Family Foundation says

More than 15 million Americans had an individual health plan as of last year, which was 4.8 million more people than 2013--a 46 percent increase, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation analysis.

"The individual (or 'non-group') insurance market has changed substantially under the Affordable Care Act (ACA)," Larry Levitt, a senior vice president for KFF, wrote in the analysis. "Over time, reaching new enrollees--particularly those who are uninsured--will be key to the long-term success of the law."

KFF's analysis, based on data compiled by consultants Mark Farrah Associates from insurers' 2014 filings, doesn't break down whether the individual market growth was particularly dominant in or out of the health insurance exchange markets.

But when comparing the data with estimates from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which says there were almost 7 million enrollees as of October of last year, KFF concluded that about 43 percent of the individual market came from the marketplaces.

Other findings from the analysis include:

  • Almost 50 percent of the increase found in the individual market was in four states--California (843,607), Florida (653,997), Texas (505,931) and Georgia (330,520).
  • Individual markets in six states increased by more than 75 percent--Arkansas, (168 percent), Rhode Island (104 percent), Maine (93 percent), New York (89 percent), Georgia (79 percent) and Florida (77 percent).
  • Colorado and Massachusetts had decreases in their individual markets and below-average exchange enrollment.

KFF also said that the individual market will continue growing this year, though at a slower pace than last year. However, previous studies have shown that if the U.S. Supreme Court determines federal subsidies are illegal when it rules in the King v. Burwell case, it would dramatically increase costs and lower enrollment in the individual market, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

To learn more:
- here's the KFF analysis

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