(Bloomberg) — Anthem Inc.’s decision to quit Ohio’s Affordable Care Act public exchange market will leave 13,000 people without any coverage option under the program next year. That number may rise to 300,000 if the health insurer follows suit in the rest of the states where it sells.
Anthem, which currently oversees exchange plans for about 1.1 million people in 14 states, is one of the largest of the multistate insurers that hasn’t pulled back sharply from selling individual plans in the ACA. In April, it said it was “assessing our market footprint in 2018,” and on Tuesday the company said it would leave Ohio.
Insurers are increasingly stepping away from the law amid financial losses on their plans, Republican threats to repeal large sections of it, and President Donald Trump’s administration’s efforts to undermine parts of the program. Trump has called the program a failure and has backed efforts to replace it, though provided few details on how.
Currently, there are more than 30,000 people with ACA exchange plans who are projected not to have an insurer under the program next year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. An Anthem exit would raise that number to 300,000 people in seven states. The numbers could change as more insurers decide to join or leave the program, and states are still hearing from insurers about their intentions. Bloomberg’s analysis includes exits by other insurers.
About 12.2 million people bought insurance plans on the ACA exchanges for this year, with 10.1 million of them receiving government subsidies to help them afford the insurance, according to a U.S. government report. The health law’s subsidies are only available for insurance plans sold in the ACA public exchange markets.
The loss of another insurer in the program would put more pressure on Republicans in Congress who are attempting to change large parts of the Affordable Care Act, which they also call a failure. Repealing the law — a key GOP campaign promise — has proven harder than expected as lawmakers haven’t been able to reach consensus on what a revamped system would look like, or how to cover millions of Americans who are insured under the program.
In a visit to Ohio Wednesday, Trump called again for Congress to move quickly ahead with its Affordable Care Act replacement bill, which is currently being revised by the Senate after being passed by the House.
“The Republicans are trying very hard,” to get a bill passed, Trump said, “and the Democrats are in our way.” Ohio is the home state of Republican Sen. Rob Portman, who’s said he supports health care reform but not the House bill.