The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has officially moved into its third open enrollment period, with the Congressional Budget Office forecasting that 10 million consumers will be covered by the end of 2016. Hopes are clearly high in the upcoming year that just shy of 1 million more people will become paying customers.
Obamacare is facing numerous challenges in 2016
But there are plenty of concerns, too, that the current open enrollment period could end in disappointment. For starters, the nation's largest insurer, UnitedHealth Group, threatened to pack up shop and leave Obamacare's marketplace exchanges as of 2017. The insurance giant is losing money on balance on its marketplace plans across two dozen states, and it would much rather give up its roughly 500,000 individual marketplace members than continue to take a hit to its margins.
What's more, more than half of Obamacare's healthcare cooperatives are shutting down. Insufficient funds in the risk corridor coupled with inadequate premium pricing caused by high medical expenses from its members doomed many of these low-cost health insurance plans. With shrinking low-cost competition in some markets, premium prices can be expected to rise -- not to mention that this will displace more than 700,000 people who now need to find a new plan and/or primary care physician.