The final bare county in the country has secured an insurer to sell health insurance plans on its Affordable Care Act exchange.
CareSource will offer health plans in Paulding County, Ohio, the insurer and Ohio's Department of Insurance said Thursday.
"We want to be a resource to consumers left without options," CareSource CEO and President Pamela Morris said in a statement. "Our decision to offer coverage in the bare counties speaks to our mission and commitment to the marketplace and serving those who are in need of healthcare coverage."
Every county in the U.S. now has at least one insurer selling health plans on its Affordable Care Act exchange. In late June, 44 counties were at risk of having no insurers participating in their exchanges, including 20 counties in Ohio alone. Anthem, Aetna and other insurers had exited many marketplaces, citing uncertainty over healthcare reform. The CMS under the Trump administration said those retreats were a sign that the ACA exchanges had failed.
In the ensuing weeks, insurers including CareSource, Centene Corp. and others filled in the gaps.
Approximately 10 million people purchase their health insurance through the federal or state exchanges.
"Working through this challenge has been a priority for the department and our staff in recent weeks and I'm proud of the collaborative approach insurers have been willing to take so that we could come together and solve this problem," Ohio's Insurance Director Jillian Froment said in a statement. "There is a lot of uncertainty facing consumers when it comes to health insurance and these announcements will provide important relief."
CareSource has until early September to finalize the plans and premiums it will offer in Paulding County.