Obamacare Insurer Participation Declines 24% in 2017.

The number of health insurers participating in the ‘Affordable’ Care Act exchanges has declined by 24 percent from 2016 to 2017, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation.


In 2016, there were 287 insurers who offered insurance on the Obamacare exchanges and in 2017 that number dropped to 218. There were 34 states that saw the number of insurers decline, 15 states have the same amount of insurers from 2016 to 2017 and only one state added an insurer in 2017.

Five states, ALABAMA, ALASKA, OKLAHOMA, SOUTH CAROLINA, and WYOMING, have only one insurer operating on the exchanges, leaving consumers with little choice.    

In one-third of counties in the United States, about one in five enrollees, or 21 percent, have access to only one insurer operating on the exchanges. This is a significant increase from the 2 percent of enrollees in 7 percent of counties that had access to only one insurer last year.

“In 2017, insurance company losses led to a number of high profile exits from the market,” the study explains. “In 2017, 58% of enrollees (living in about 30% of counties) had a choice of three or more insurers, compared to 85% of enrollees (living in about 63% of counties) in 2016.”

As larger commercial insurers such as Aetna and United Healthcare have dropped out of Obamacare, many areas will only have regional insurers to choose from, said Ed Haislmaier, an expert in health care policy at the Heritage Foundation.


“The reality is that the individual market even pre-Obamacare was a very small part of their business,” said Haislmaier. “So those companies have basically dropped out and what that leaves are a couple of companies with broader footprints but not more than about 10 or 12 states.”

“What you’re down to is basically in most cases your dominant Blue Cross plan and then depending on the size and location you may have regional players and by regional it could mean either across two or more states or just within a state,” he said.       

Haislmaier and the Heritage Foundation, who originally created the methodology for this type of study earlier this year, said that the ‘Affordable’ Care Act has left consumers with less competition and choice than ever before.

“One of the stated aims of the ‘Affordable’ Care Act was to increase competition among health insurance companies,” said Haislmaier.

“That goal has not been realized, and by several different measures the ACA’s exchanges offer less competition and choice in 2017 than ever before. Now in the fourth year of operation, the exchanges continue to be far less competitive than the individual health insurance market was before the ACA’s implementation.”

Diana Furchtgott-Roth, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, said that Congress needs to repeal and reform Obamacare without delay. 

“The Obamacare death spiral is continuing,” she said. “As rates rise, healthy people drop out and the share of sick people rise, causing further increases in rates. Since these rates are capped then the insurance business becomes less profitable and companies leave the business.”   


The Importance of Trace Minerals Part I (Boron)

Boron is a little known yet essential trace mineral found in food and the environment.  A trace mineral is any mineral that the body requires in small amounts to support numerous functions. It is also available in supplemental form for treatment of specific conditions.  It can be found in abundance in many foods like apples, oranges, red grapes, pears, plums, kiwis, dates, avocado, soybeans and nuts.  Chickpeas, hazel nuts, currants, peanut butter, red kidney beans, tomato, lentils, olive, onion, potato wine, and beer are also notable sources of Boron.  It is required for proper growth and functioning of our body.  Deficiencies are rare because it is found in an abundance of foods.

Boron is helpful in the prevention of arthritis as well as a very effective treatment.  In fact, it gives significant improvement to more than 90 percent of the patients who are given treatments that include ingestion of boron. This is brought about by the effective calcium instillation in the bones and cartilage. Bones weaken and become porous as people age. Boron can help inhibit bone deterioration efficiently.  It can also reduce the allergic reactions caused by rheumatoid arthritis.

Boron has also been found to be effective in cancer therapy since it can capture the agents used for this type of therapy and develop powerful enzyme inhibitors.  It can also be used as an antibody that can identify useful saccharides in the body.  It also helps in estrogen production which is especially helpful to women in the menopausal stage.  It brings back an intense sex drive by increasing levels of natural body hormones, prevents postmenopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats and postmenopausal related osteoporosis.  It can even substitute for hormone replacement therapy.

Studies have shown that boron has a positive effect on important brain functions such as enhancing various cognitive skills including visual perception, concentration, short memory, eye to hand coordination, fine motor skills and logic.  It helps maintain proper cell membrane functions and stabilizes hormone reception as well.  If you suffer from depression, mental fatigue or memory loss, boron may be beneficial.  While there are many causes of these symptoms, adequate levels of boron are required for healthy mental function.

It has been found to be significantly useful in alleviating symptoms brought on by congestive heart failure as well.  CHF that is typically marked by poor functioning of the heart causes breathing problems, fluid retention in the legs, weight gain and decrease in appetite. Intake of boron through diet or in supplemental form can play a crucial role to improve these symptoms.

It is also important for maintaining healthy bones.  The bone building capacities of boron are often overshadowed by calcium.   Boron works in unison with calcium to strengthen the bones and plays a very important role in minimizing the risks of osteoporosis and arthritis.  Boron helps in the metabolism of minerals that are involved in bone development such as calcium, magnesium and copper

It can also improve circulation of the blood and aids in the removal of toxins and cholesterol from the body.  While it doesn’t get the attention of other mineral’s because it’s needed in small amounts, it’s still essential for healthy body function.

Family Fall Traditions

Fall is here and with it comes cooler temps and the changing colors of the leaves.  It’s a great time of year to introduce your children to seasonal fun they can look forward to every Fall season.  Here are a few family friendly fall activities you can make a tradition with your family.

~Visit your state park or reservation and hike the walking trails.  Pack a picnic lunch and have a fun and educational adventure.   As you explore the trails you can teach your child about nature and why the leaves change.  They can learn and burn off some energy while getting exercise with the family.  Teaching your children to enjoy exercise and learning at a young age can set the stage for healthy and productive habits they form in the future.

~Visit a local apple orchard if there is one in your area and pick your own apples. Many local farms offer special events for children that include hayrides, horse rides, and more.  Once you leave the farm, you can continue the fun by finding recipes to make with your apples.  Making some homemade applesauce or a fresh apple pie keeps the fun going and provides an extra special treat for your family.

~Head to your local pumpkin patch and pick out a few pumpkins.  Many farms have special events for kids with corn mazes, pony rides, petting zoos and other fall festivities.  You can teach your kids how pumpkins grow and then take them home to decorate for fall.

~Scavenger Hunts can be great outdoor fun for kids.  Make a list of things to find like pine cones or yellow leaves and head to the park or back-yard.  Share in the excitement as they find each item and discuss what you could do with these things (like make a craft project).

~Planning a Fall themed craft project at home can be a lot of fun.  Have the kids help rake the leaves in search for the “perfect” ones for their projects.  They’ll get exercise, learn how to be a helper and then get to make a fun craft with their find.  A five minute internet search will provide you with ideas and afterwards you can have fun decorating the house with the new decorations together.

~October is National Cookie Month and the only thing children like more than eating cookies is making them!  This can become a wonderful family tradition and you can choose a different cookie recipe to make each year or a special one that you only make this time of year.

~Camping out whether it’s in your backyard or in the living room, can be a fun event for the whole family.  Shut off the TV’s or ipads, grab some flashlights and take turns telling spooky stories.  Kids have wonderful imaginations so it’s great to see what they come up with and encourage them to be creative.

~Have a bonfire or light up the fire pit.  You can make s’mores or roast some hotdogs on sticks while enjoying some family time outside.

Parents are tasked with the tough job of helping to encourage and shape people into who they will become as adults.  Spending family time with your kids will help them have self-confidence as well as strengthen the family bond.  Whether you are on a budget or not, it doesn’t matter what you make together, what matters is the time spent together and the memories made.