Optima Health has announced plans to pull back its involvement in Virginia’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace. This decision follows the announcements earlier this year from Aetna, UnitedHealthCare, and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, all of whom are leaving the exchange.
But after news that 50 percent of counties will have no ACA insurance options next year, Anthem said that all counties will likely have an insurer.
Optima’s decision is a reversal of a previous decision to sell individual health plans in areas of the state that were bare of ACA options, and it leaves around 350,000 customers in half of the state’s counties without insurance options for 2018. That means 48 counties and 15 cities in the state will not have ACA plans, according to the Virginia Bureau of Insurance.
In addition to the uncertainty surrounding the ACA law, Optima said their decision to pull back was a direct result of Anthem’s announcement. Since Optima only serves about 17,000 ACA customers currently, executives feared that they wouldn’t be able to handle the 200,000 customers covered by Anthem.
For customers who are still served by Anthem, however, they are facing severe premium rate increases—an average of 81.8 percent for those who don’t receive federal subsidies.