As a new Obamacare enrollment period begins most of the state of North Dakota, geographically speaking, will have just one option available on the federal government’s insurance exchange.
Yesterday I had Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread on air to talk about that.
The law was supposed to boost access to health insurance by lowering premium costs and spurring more competition, but Godfread said that hasn’t happened in North Dakota. He pointed out that, before Obamacare, the state had 13 insurers offering various levels of health care coverage and an uninsured rate of about 12 percent.
Now that Obamacare has been in place for years, the state has just 3 insurers offering coverage and the uninsured rate remains at about 12 percent.
“I don’t know what we’ve gained,” Godfread told me, adding that he’d be happy to go back to the time before Obamacare, even acknowledging how flawed access to health insurance was at that point.
As for the exchange, Godfread said it’s become a “subsidy only marketplace” and that North Dakotans who don’t need or want the subsidies should look for coverage outside it. In fact, he went so far as to say that there are “better products off the exchange” for those needing coverage.
He said their best bet is to “talk to a licensed agent who is registered with all three companies,” but that if the person seeking insurance needs a federal subsidy the exchange at HealthCare.gov is the only place to get it.
Here’s the full audio of our interview: