(New York Times) Last year, we encouraged returning Obamacare customers to shop around for a better deal. This year, a lot of people will have no choice.
In markets throughout the country, the plan in the most popular category that was least expensive this year will not be offered next year. That means that some people who took our advice and shopped for a bargain will need to shop again, even if they're happy with their plan.
There are 499 markets for Obamacare plans in the United States. In 89 of them, the insurance company that offered this year's best deal in the "silver" category will not be returning for 2016. We've marked those areas in dark grey on our map. Most of those exits are a result of insurance co-op plans that failed. A few exits came as insurers that are still operating elsewhere decided to leave particular markets. People in these canceled plans can't simply renew their current policy if they like it – they have to go back into the marketplace and find a new insurer.
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The widespread cancellations reflect continuing shifts in the new health insurance markets, which sprang into being in 2014. Insurers are still learning what sorts of plans will be most popular and what prices will be low enough to attract customers while still covering their medical bills.