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When a Health Insurer Leaves the Individual Market: What States Can Do before Certain Affordable Care Act Changes Take Effect in 2014 

By Pa-hua Cha,


Before the Affordable Care Act goes into full effect in 2014, consumers who buy health insurance on their own are at risk of losing their coverage if a health insurer decides to stop selling individual policies in their state.

To protect consumers from this risk and help them transition to another affordable coverage option, states can:

  • entice insurers to stay in all markets by requiring insurers that want to sell group policies in the state to also sell individual policies
  • negotiate with the remaining insurers in the state to offer health plans to people who lost their coverage
  • use the state high-risk pool or plans that guarantee coverage to everyone regardless of health status as alternative for consumers who lose their coverage