It will offer exchanges in 68 counties.
In August, health insurance company Anthem, the nation’s second-largest health insurer, decided to leave Obamacare exchanges in Virginia due to “uncertainty about the future of Obamacare” due to “an unbalanced risk pool.”
Anthem changed its mind on Friday and has decided to stick it out in parts of the commonwealth that would have had no insurers for the residents.
Anthem in a statement said its “decision will positively impact up to 70,000 Virginians—many of whom would not have had access to important health care coverage.”
“Anthem will remain focused on developments in the individual marketplace and will continue to advocate for solutions that will stabilize the market and allow us to once again offer individual insurance coverage throughout the state of Virginia in the future,” the company said.
However, to date Anthem overall has announced plans to significantly scale back its Obamacare business in 2018 in nine of the 14 states where it currently sells such individual market plans.
Anthem decided it “will sell Obamacare plans on and off the exchange in 68 counties.” This will include 63 counties that would have been without any insurance company selling plans. From The Washington Examiner:
Several insurers have left Virginia, causing counties to become empty at times. The most recent change came from Optima Health, which decided to offer fewer plans than in 2017 after previously saying it would offer plans in every state. Insurers have said that they have suffered significant losses by participating in the exchanges and they have said too much uncertainty is ahead in terms of what Congress will do to change the law and whether the Trump administration will make payments to insurers, known as cost-sharing reduction payments.
The payments were determined unconstitutional by a federal judge after they were challenged under the Obama administration, and Congress is considering appropriating them.
But like I said, Anthem wanted to get out of Virginia due to the instability. I don’t get why people find this so hard, but without a profit, a company cannot operate. Yes this includes the healthy industry. The Washington Examiner wrote at the time:
Without the funds, insurers would price their premiums higher for next year, but because they don’t know whether to expect the payments, they have said they are wary about doing business in the exchanges next year. Many of them already have claimed hundreds of millions of dollars in losses from selling the plans.
“Today, planning and pricing for [Obamacare]-compliant health plans has become increasingly difficult due to a shrinking and deteriorating individual market, as well as continual changes and uncertainty in federal operations, rules and guidance, including cost-sharing reduction subsidies and the restoration of taxes on fully insured coverage,” Anthem said Friday. “As a result, the continued uncertainty makes it difficult for us to offer individual health plans statewide in Virginia.”
The news comes a few hours after I blogged about how Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) believes he will gather the votes needed for his bill with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to repeal Obamacare. The Washington Times reported:
“We are thinking that we can get this done by Sept. 30,” Sen. Bill Cassidy, Louisiana Republican who co-wrote the bill with Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, said Friday.
Republican leadership seemed to greet the bill with a shrug when it dropped this week, yet Mr. Cassidy said the idea “took off” during a Thursday luncheon that focused on health care.
The senator said his informal whip count stands at “48 or 49” GOP votes, suggesting they are close to the 50-vote threshold needed to pass a bill, using Vice President Mike Pence as a tie-breaker.
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