What is the individual health insurance market and why is everyone so worried about it?

Experts across the political spectrum are warning that the individual health insurance market could be devastated by the uncertainty around the Affordable Care Act’s future.

The individual market, which sells health plans to those who don’t have insurance through work or public programs, was highly regulated and subsidized by the ACA.

Insurers that have remained in the market could well pull out in the face of tremendous uncertainty, causing the market to “very possibly” collapse in some parts of the country, centrist think tank the Brookings Institution said in a report last week.

Eliminating the ACA’s mandate for health insurance coverage could also prompt a “death spiral,” or a cycle of rising premiums and healthy, young people leaving the market, the report said.

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