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Report: Most Insurers Lost Money On Obamacare In Program’s First Year

Photo by Laura Wingard

A Covered California sign is shown on the door of a La Mesa insurance agent's business, April 9, 2016.

Aired 7/22/16 on KPBS News.

Only about one-third of health insurers made a profit on Obamacare plans in 2014, according to an analysis by the Commonwealth Fund.

Health insurers gained a lot of new customers in the first year of President Barack Obama's health care law. But a new study finds most companies didn't make a profit in the individual health insurance market.

The report from the Commonwealth Fund, a private research foundation, looked at 144 insurers that sold Obamacare plans in 2014. The analysis found only about one-third made a profit on those products.

The study found both medical claims and administrative costs increased more than premiums.

Anthony Wright, executive director of the nonprofit Health Access California, said the report doesn't tell the whole story.

“The point of the Affordable Care Act is not to have huge profits for the insurers. It’s to make sure that consumers are getting the best value, and are getting coverage that covers them for when they need it, and at a price that is sustainable over the long run," Wright said.

Covered California plans will raise premiums an average of 13.2 percent in 2017.

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