Anthem Inc. announced plans to exit Ohio’s health-insurance exchange next year, according to The Wall Street Journal. Individuals within the region may now have no marketplace options under the Affordable Care Act. Although this will be Anthem’s first departure from a state exchange, the move signals a growing trend among insurers, adding urgency to lawmakers’ efforts to repeal the ACA.
Anthem cited the “increasing lack of overall predictability,” in defense of its Ohio decision. Consumers in 18 counties will have zero exchange plans available next year after Anthem’s exit, according to the Ohio Department of Insurance.
It’s growing more common for counties to have no options for healthcare insurers, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation who found that 32 percent of U.S. counties only have one exchange insurer available in 2017. Last year, only seven percent of U.S. counties were down to one insurer.
So far, Ohio is the only state within Anthem’s 14 state exchanges that the insurer has decided to abandon, but Anthem is assessing its ACA plan for each state individually. Although Anthem filed 2018 ACA plans for several states, like Connecticut, Maine, and Virginia, the risk that the insurer may exit still exists.
Anthem joins Humana Inc. and Aetna Inc. who both intend to pull out of all of their exchanges next year. The prevalence of these decisions is another signal that the ACA is failing and that there cannot be any delay in its repeal. “As predicted during NFIB’s landmark lawsuit to overturn Obamacare in the Supreme Court, our members’ costs have skyrocketed and choices for employers and employees were destroyed,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan in a press release. “Now that the House has kept its promise, we urge the Senate to pass the measure as soon as possible.”