Anthem decided to pull out the Maine Obamacare exchange at the last minute. The insurer made the announcement today. The deadline for deciding what counties each insurer will cover is Wednesday at midnight. From Reuters:
U.S. health insurer Anthem Inc said on Wednesday it will not offer individual Obamacare plans in Maine in 2018, citing uncertainty over government operations, including whether it will provide subsidies to reduce costs under the Affordable Care Act…
Judi Watters, spokeswoman for the Maine Bureau of Insurance, confirmed that no counties in the state will be left without health insurance coverage options…
Under Maine’s guaranteed renewal law, current individual members will be able to renew their health plan in 2018, Anthem said. However they will be offered a plan off the Obamacare exchange and will not be eligible to receive financial assistance or subsidies, which could make them unaffordable for many current customers.
That means there should be no “bare” counties anywhere in the U.S. in 2018. Just a few weeks ago it appeared there could be dozens of counties with no insurer next year, but the last bare county found an insurer last month. NBC News reports that despite the complete network of coverage uncertainty about the continuation of cost-sharing payments has done significant damage to Obamacare.
While no counties are slated to go without coverage in 2018, almost half will have just one option next year…
Already, state insurance regulators are approving big rate increases based on the assumption that Trump will discontinue CSR payments and Congress will not appropriate them.
In Connecticut, insurers and state officials agreed to premium hikes of 27.7 percent with one insurer and 31.7 percent with another, with both sides citing volatility around CSRs. In Michigan, officials assumed no CSR payments while approving an average 27.6 percent increase. And in Mississippi, state Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney approved a whopping 47.4 percent boost in premiums for the state’s lone Obamacare insurer, according to the Wall Street Journal. He said it would have been 17.9 percent if the CSR payments were not in question.
Added to that is the fact that this year’s open enrollment period will be half as long as last year’s (which was already a disappointment) and the fact that the advertising budget has been cut from $100 million to $10 million and you have a recipe for decline even though many are celebrating John McCain’s saving the law from (partial) repeal a second time.
Here’s the CMS map showing 48.5% of counties are down to one insurer next year: