Anthem will leave Ohio's Obamacare exchange next year

Anthem Insurance announced Tuesday that it will leave Ohio's Obamacare exchange market next year, a move that will leave thousands of Ohioans with no Obamacare insurance options whatsoever.

Mark Schwartz | Jun 07, 2017

   

Anthem Insurance announced Tuesday that it will leave Ohio's Obamacare exchange market next year, a move that will leave thousands of Ohioans with no Obamacare insurance options whatsoever. The company implied it may vacate other states, as well, in a Tuesday announcement in which it blamed "volatility" in the health-insurance market and uncertainty over whether Congress would continue to pay insurers subsidies to cover low-income and high-risk enrollees.

"We have always argued the private market is the most severely impacted by the federal law and the is where Congressional action is needed to restore stability," a company spokesperson said in an email.

In 20 of Ohio's 88 counties, Anthem is the only insurer still selling insurance on the exchanges, according to the Ohio Department of Insurance, which noted that Anthem's departure would leave approximately 10,500 residents with no insurer.

This company is also the only insurer still selling on the exchanges throughout the entire state. Aetna already left the state's exchanges earlier this year.

Anthem and other insurers are finalizing their plans and premium rates for 2018, and the tentative status of President Obama's health-care law in light of GOP Congressional debates over a replacement complicates the planning process. The law has up until now provided insurers with subsidies to offset the costs of taking on additional enrollees who have costly pre-existing conditions or who are too low-income to afford plans on the regular insurance market.

But Congressional Republicans have been trying to reduce or eliminate these subsidies, and Trump has made contradictory statements about whether he wishes to keep funding them. In response, insurers in many states have submitted planned premium increases of 50% to 60% to make up the difference.

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