HCSC: We're doing just fine w/the ACA now, thanks...oh, except for Trump/GOP sabotage.

via Bob Herman of Axios:

Health Care Service Corp. — the parent company of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield affiliates in Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas — recorded an $869 million profit in the first quarter of 2017, according to the company's latest financial documents. That was a $1.3 billion turnaround after HCSC lost $442 million in the first quarter of 2016.

How to interpret this: The Affordable Care Act exchanges in some areas are hurting, but overall are not imploding. Many insurance companies continue to do well (like Florida Blue) or are turning things around (like HCSC). And HCSC carries a lot of weight, since it covers nearly 1.1 million people in ACA plans and is the largest Blue Cross and Blue Shield company after Anthem.

Something to consider:

  • Around 12.24 million people enrolled in ACA exchange policies this year; this is likely down to around 10.5 million today due to non-payment/attrition/etc.
  • Of those 10.5M, around 1.1 million are enrolled via HCSC.
  • Florida Blue has around 731K individual market enrollees total, and around 75% of Florida's indy market is on-exchange, so that's likely 550K FL Blue exchange enrollees.

This means that carriers representing at least 1.6 million ACA exchange enrollees (at least 15%) are doing just fine this year.

I realize that's damning with faint praise, but considering Paul Ryan, Donald Trump etc. keep insisting that "Obamacare is a complete disaster" etc, it's important to keep in mind that "complete" is a pretty all-encompassing statement.

What about the other 8.9 million or so? Well, Aetna and Humana are pulling out of all states, while Wellmark is dropping out of the Iowa exchange. Aetna has around 255K both on/off exchange; assuming, 2/3 are on exchange that's roughly 170K. Humana has around 152,000 which likely translates into perhaps 100K on-exchange. Add 21,000 via Wellmark and that's carriers representing around 290,000 ACA exchange enrollees pulling out so far.

OK, I'm a little off topic...the point here is that 4 years into the ACA exchanges, one of the largest particpants seems to have finally righted the ship, so it should be full steam ahead next year, right?

...Looking ahead: McDonald would not say what the company was doing for 2018, as rate filing deadlines approach and uncertainty lingers around the ACA's cost-sharing subsidies for low-income people. "At this point, it's hard to say," he said.

Oh. Never mind.