ACA uncertainty affecting ND health insurance market

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Health care premiums are rising in North Dakota and the uncertainty surrounding the Affordable Care Act's future has forced carriers off the federal exchange.

Individual plans are going up as much as 22 percent, with as Medica leaving the federal exchange. Small Group Plans in the state will increase anywhere from two to more than 11 percent.

These plans cover more than 70,000 people throughout the state and relief from rising costs aren't coming anytime soon.

It's too late for Congressional intervention for healthcare.gov in 2018 according to the state insurance commissioner Jon Godfread.

"I'm done waiting on Congress I guess to give me a solution that's going to wait for 2018. So really the window is now and it's not going to be extended,” said Godfread.

Here in North Dakota, the options went from three statewide providers in 2017 to just one for the 2018 cycle. Godfread explains how this will limit customer choices.

"What this has turned healthcare.gov into is a subsidy only marketplace really,” said Godfread.

In Iowa, Medica is the only insurance company to sell individual plans, while raising premiums an average of 57 percent.

In North Dakota, where Medica is an option off the exchange, the average individual rate increase is 18.8 percent. Godfread says Congress needs to intervene otherwise North Dakota could end up looking like Iowa.

"So if Congress doesn't come together in 2018 and fix it for the 2019 plan year, I've got some real concerns for what it's going to look like here in North Dakota and across the country,” said Godfread.

Enrollment for healthcare will end on Dec. 15. The Trump administration shortened this year's enrollment period to 45 days, which is half as long as previous years.