Published: Sun, September 17, 2017
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Anthem insurance to stay in area ACA market

Anthem insurance to stay in area ACA market

At the time of Optima's announcement, it was the last remaining insurer in the city of Winchester and Frederick and Clarke counties that offered Affordable Care Act plans through Virginia's individual health care exchange.

Anthem changed its mind on Friday and has made a decision to stick it out in parts of the commonwealth that would have had no insurers for the residents.

Anthem decided it "will sell Obamacare plans on and off the exchange in 68 counties".

Anthem's return to rural areas and counties that were bare is good news, said Doug Gray, executive director of the Virginia Association of Health Plans.

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Anthem Inc. agreed to offer Affordable Care Act exchange plans in much of Virginia next year, reversing an earlier decision to withdraw and ensuring that the state won't have any regions lacking marketplace coverage.

"Growing and diversifying the Virginia economy, improving our state's quality of life, and making Virginia the best place to grow up are all related priorities that are closely linked and each requires a strong, best in class health care system".

Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam issued the following statement after Anthem's decision to continue offering insurance policies under the Affordable Care Act throughout Virginia. This left most localities in the northern Shenandoah Valley without any options to purchase an Affordable Care Act plan during the upcoming open enrollment period, which runs from November 1 to December 15.

To Democrats in Virginia, however, the blame for insurer exits should fall on President Donald Trump's administration.

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The payments were determined unconstitutional by a federal judge after they were challenged under the Obama administration, and Congress is considering appropriating them. "I just want to communicate to all insurance companies: There is no way - none - that Congress is going to tolerate a situation where persistently there are counties in this country where people can not buy insurance on the individual market". Yes this includes the healthy industry. People with higher incomes receive less or are not eligible for help with premiums.

But earlier this week, Optima slightly expanded the area where it will sell exchange products next year, and Anthem on Friday announced it would keep selling marketplace plans in 68 cities and counties in Virginia, 63 of which had appeared at risk of lacking a marketplace insurer. "As a result, the continued uncertainty makes it hard for us to offer individual health plans statewide in Virginia".

"I want to turn it around and give you a message about an action that we're likely to take", Sen. Lindsey Graham of SC, said Friday.

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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