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ACA individual market to show improvement in 2016, S&P says

S&P Global Ratings expects insurers' underwriting performance in the Affordable Care Act individual market, in aggregate, to be better in 2016 than 2015.

The losses will be smaller in 2016 than 2015, while 2017 will likely see continued improvement, with more insurers getting close to breakeven or better, according to S&P. Insurers did not price for repeal, so if consumer behavior is contrary to pricing expectations as result of the uncertainty around the future of healthcare, then 2017 results may be weaker than expected, the rating agency said.

S&P added that 2018 and beyond will depend on the specifics of the expected repeal and replacement of the ACA, the timing of its implementation and insurers' ability to adapt to it.

S&P Global Ratings and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.