How is the ACA Faring in Virginia?

Mar 27, 2017

The future of the ACA exchange in Virginia will soon become clearer according to Jill Hanken at the Virginia Poverty Law Center.
Credit Andrew Harnik / AP

Republicans say the Affordable Care Act is in a “death spiral,” and President Trump is expecting the system to “explode.” But what is the state of the newly created health-insurance exchanges in Virginia?

Since the Affordable Care Act created a new exchange for people who could not afford health insurance, about 400,000 people in Virginia signed up and now have health insurance. The exchange in Virginia has 10 providers, and the increase in premiums here is way below the national average. Jill Hanken at the Virginia Poverty Law Center says we’ll know much more about the future of the exchange this spring.

“We’ll see which companies are still hoping to do business in Virginia and how many plans they are going to offer and where those plans will be offered as well as the prices.”

If Virginia’s health-insurance exchange is really in a death spiral, insurers would start dropping out this spring. So far, that hasn’t happened. But Len Nichols at George Mason University says the Trump administration could sabotage the exchanges in the courts by refusing to defend subsidies in an ongoing court challenge. 

“Over half of the people nationally enrolled in marketplace plans are in counties that voted for Trump. So it would be kind of self-defeating to their own constituency to sabotage this market.”

Republicans say they expect the system to fall apart. But, Democrats say Virginia’s health-insurance exchange is a success, one they hope will continue.