Citing ‘volatile’ market, Anthem exits another Obamacare exchange
This got buried after what happened in Charlottesville over the weekend. Anthem announced Friday that it was pulling out of the Virginia exchange. From CNBC:
Anthem announced Friday it will pull out of Virginia’s “volatile” individual Obamacare market next year.
The insurer said planning and pricing have become increasingly difficult because of a shrinking market, as well as changes and uncertainty from the federal government. That includes President Donald Trump’s indecision on whether to continue paying cost-sharing subsidies.
“While we are pleased that some steps have been taken to address the long term challenges all health plans serving the Individual market are facing, the Individual market remains volatile,” Anthem said in a statement. “A stable insurance market is dependent on products that create value for consumers through the broad spreading of risk and a known set of conditions upon which rates can be developed.”
The company will continue to offer some off-exchange plans in a couple of counties but the loss of Anthem is a serious problem for the Virginia marketplace. Anthem is the largest insurer in the state, covering three times as many people as the #2 insurer, Kaiser. From the LA Times:
Anthem’s abandonment of Virginia, where it had a 56% share of the ACA market, is a blow that will force state healthcare officials to scurry to find alternatives for residents. One insurer, Optima Health has said it will offer coverage in counties that otherwise would be left without insurers.
Anthem, which operates Blue Cross Blue Shield in more than a dozen states, has been gradually retreating from the Obamacare marketplaces. Earlier this month the company pulled out of the exchange in Nevada and parts of Georgia. The week before that it pulled out of the majority of the California market. And back in June Anthem pulled out of the Ohio market.
Not all of the recent Obamacare announcements have been about insurers pulling back though. Yesterday, a Montana co-op which had stopped taking new customers last year announced it was open for business again. From the Omaha World Herald:
Montana’s health care co-op, one of America’s few remaining alternatives to traditional health insurance, resumed accepting new enrollees Sunday after it voluntarily pulled itself from the state’s insurance marketplace in December…
“When all the other co-ops were going down, we were losing money, too,” said Jerry Dworak, the Montana Health Co-op’s CEO. “Thankfully, we’ve turned things around.”
Most of the Obamacare co-ops, which were created with loans from the federal government, have failed.