Anthem Might Withdraw from Obamacare Exchanges in 2018

Anthem (Darron Cummings / Associated Press)
Darron Cummings / Associated Press

Anthem Inc. appears likely to withdraw from a significant portion of Obamacare exchanges in 2018, a crucial time for Obamacare’s survival.

Anthem, according to Jefferies analysts David Windley and David Styblo, “is leaning toward exiting a high percentage of the 144 rating regions in which it currently participates.”

Anthem is one of the few remaining insurers in the Obamacare exchanges. UnitedHealth Group and Aetna already exited most states, while Humana plans to drop out of the Obamacare exchanges entirely in 2018.

Analysis from Axios reports that if Anthem exits the Obamacare exchanges, then consumers in Colorado, Kentucky, Missouri, and Ohio would no longer have Obamacare insurers in 2018. Humana’s departure, announced earlier this year, will leave Tennessee with no Obamacare insurance options.

Anthem chief executive Joe Swedish believes that Anthem has to decide “whether or not we surgically extract ourselves from certain rating regions, or quite frankly even on a larger scale, depending on the stability of the marketplace.”

Swedish continued, “If we can’t see stability going into 2018 with respect to either pricing, product, or the overall rules of engagement, then we will begin making some very conscious decisions with respect to extracting ourselves.”

Anthem’s exit would give more ammunition for President Trump, who recently tweeted recently that Obamacare will “explode.”

After the failure of Ryancare, President Trump said that Democrats now “own Obamacare,” and will be forced to cut a deal with Republicans once it fails. Trump said, “As you know, I’ve been saying for years that the best thing is to let Obamacare explode and then go make a deal with the Democrats and have one unified deal.”


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