Citing volatility in the individual insurance market and uncertainty over funding for cost-sharing subsidies, Anthem announced last week that it will leave Ohio's health insurance exchange in 2018.
Anthem has been hinting for months that it may pull out of some Affordable Care Act exchanges, but Ohio marks its first retreat. The Indianapolis-based insurer sells policies on exchanges in 13 other states. Anthem covers about 1.1 million exchange members.
Anthem said that while some steps have been taken to address challenges plaguing the individual market, continued uncertainty surrounding funding for cost-sharing subsidies that help low in-income Americans afford exchange coverage and the taxes on fully insured health plans keep the market from stabilizing.
Anthem is the only insurer in 2017 selling plans in all 88 Ohio counties. Its exit would leave at least 18 Ohio counties without an insurer, according to the state's insurance regulators. About 10,500 enrollees receive coverage in those counties.
"For the past few years we have seen a weakening in the federal insurance marketplace as a number of companies have withdrawn from the exchange," Chris Brock, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Insurance, said in a statement. "We have always argued the private insurance market is the most severely impacted by the federal law and that is where congressional action is needed to restore stability."