Anthem steps back into individual health insurance market in 68 localities

Last week, Virginia officials said there were 48 counties and 15 cities in that state expected to be bare as a result of Optima Health’s decision not to expand its footprint as much as it had earlier expected.

Anthem won’t exit the Virginia counties where the carrier last month announced it wouldn’t offer exchange plans for 2018, which would have left around 60 cities and counties without an option for coverage on the individual market.

Friday was the deadline for insurance companies to notify the Bureau of Insurance at the State Corporation Commission if they meant to participate in the marketplace.

“I have just been informed by the President of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Virginia that they will be offering individual health insurance policies in 68 Virginia localities in 2018”.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe released a statement Friday following the company’s decision, which he said came after discussions with his office, Virginia Secretary of Health Dr. Bill Hazel and Virginia’s congressional delegation.

The company had withdrawn entirely from the individual market in Virginia in early August, potentially leaving more than 206,000 people without access to health insurance.

Sen. Mark R. Warner and Sen. “Moving forward, I will continue to work towards a rational health insurance system that offers consumers affordability and choice”.

Governor McAuliffe also issued a statement following the decision. “They have always been a productive corporate citizen, and this decision is a testament to their strong commitment to Virginia and its people”. State health insurance commissioners and health care experts expressed support for reinsurance as a way to increase certainty in the marketplace. “We will continue to work in Congress with colleagues regardless of party to fix the existing Affordable Care Act to ensure a stable market, lower costs, and improve coverage”.

Exiting insurers have blamed both the law itself – it failed to attract enough young and healthy customers to balance out an influx of sicker, costlier ones – and the uncertainty instilled by Mr. Trump’s wavering commitment to “cost-sharing” payments for insurers and the individual mandate that requires people to get health insurance or pay a tax.

But other insurers, like Centene Corp (CNC.N), have filled those gaps, expanding into new counties that had lost their coverage options.

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