Health insurance giant Anthem announced its plan to almost completely pull out of Affordable Care Act markets in Indiana and Wisconsin in 2018. The announcement comes after Anthem already announced it will be leaving Ohio’s Obamacare market the same year.
A stable insurance market is dependent on products that create value for consumers through the broad spreading of risk and a known set of conditions upon which rates can be developed. Today, planning and pricing for ACA-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.
A five-year ban on returning to the individual Obamacare exchange is imposed on any insurer that completely pulls out of a state’s Obamacare market. Because of this, Anthem will continue to providejust one single plan outside of the federally-run marketplace in a single county in Wisconsin. They will also sell one plan outside of the Obamacare exchange in just five Indiana counties.
Athem currently provides plans through Obamacare in 14 states. The insurance company will be departing from three (Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin) of those states next year and could announce more withdrawals before the year ends.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has pushed hard for a GOP alternative to Obamacare. He led efforts to pass the American Health Care Act through the House – that legislation now sits in the Senate chamber. Ryan, who represents Wisconsin’s 1st District, made an official statement on Anthem’s retreat from the Badger State:
Because of Obamacare, many Wisconsinites will now have to scramble to find new plans and new doctors. This law has failed our state, where average individual market premiums have skyrocketed by 93 percent since 2013. Obamacare is clearly collapsing, and we have to step in before more families get hurt. We are on a rescue mission to replace this collapsing law with a better system so that people have lower costs, more choices, and real peace of mind. We need to get this done.
Senate leaders plan to vote on the American Health Care Act before the end of June. Safely assuming no Democrats vote for the bill, GOP senators can only afford to lose two votes from their side to have any hope of it passing the upper chamber. The vote will come down to the wire.
With or without a Republican alternative – it’s clear Obamacare is collapsing all on its own.