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Anthem drops ACA in Ohio

10,000 people could be impacted

By Mark Ferenchik and Michael Huson GateHouse Ohio Media Published: June 7, 2017 4:00 AM

Anthem's leaving the Affordable Care Act's health insurance exchange in Ohio next year would leave more than 10,000 people in 18 counties without a plan.

In the rest of the state, 56,000 people already signed up with Anthem would have to find another plan.

"I think this will lead to increased uncompensated care," said Steve Wagner, executive director of the Universal Health Care Action Network of Ohio, a nonprofit that promotes accessible and affordable health care. "Certainly people will go without care, or defer it until it's so critical they end up in the emergency department."

Anthem operates Blue Cross in Ohio. In a statement, Anthem spokesman Jeff Blunt said, "This was a difficult decision that was only made after thoughtful consideration and ongoing discussions with Ohio's state and regulatory leaders.

"As the marketplace continues to evolve and adjust to changing regulatory requirements and marketplace conditions, we will re-evaluate whether a more robust presence in the exchange is appropriate in the future."

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Monday was the deadline for insurance companies in Ohio to propose their 2018 rates under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

For the past few years, state insurance officials have seen a weakening in the federal insurance marketplace as a number of companies have withdrawn from the exchange, said Chris Brock, assistant director of the Ohio Department of Insurance.

Aetna and UnitedHealthCare also have pulled out. "I would say that we are not surprised," Brock said of Anthem's decision.

State insurance officials say they are looking for options for the 10,500 Ohioans in counties left without a single exchange plan.

Based on preliminary filing submissions to the Ohio Department of Insurance, Anthem's pulling out would leave these counties without insurance plans: Coshocton, Crawford, Guernsey, Hancock, Harrison, Hocking, Holmes, Jackson, Knox, Lawrence, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Paulding, Perry, Van Wert, Vinton and Wyandot.

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Anthem will continue to cover about 3.4 million people across other plans.

Reaction to Anthem's announcement on Tuesday was swift.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said in a statement that Anthem's decision affects the ability to get cancer treatments, life-saving micine and even taking children to see a doctor.

"Instead of using working families as bargaining chips and driving up prices across the market, we need to work together to lower costs and make healthcare work better for everyone," Brown said.

In a statement, the left-leaning American Bridge Political Action Committee blamed President Donald Trump for sabotaging Affordable Care Act marketplaces "and the people of Ohio are going to pay the price."

"Trump's efforts to deliberately undermine the insurance markets are hurting people right now, and his reckless behavior is unconscionable," American Bridge spokesperson Harrell Kirstein said. "Ohioans deserve far better."

On the other side, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said in a statement, "For the past few years we've seen premiums and deductibles skyrocket because of the Obamacare law, as we've seen a declining number of viable health care choices for families and small businesses. Without true competition and choice in the market, we will never be able to lower health care costs for families and small businesses. This is one more reason why the status quo on health care is unsustainable."


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redleg6 Jun 7, 2017 10:18 AM

From:..cnn.com..5 Oct 2016.....

Bill Clinton, speaking at a Democratic rally in Flint, Michigan;

"So you've got this crazy system where all of a sudden 25 million more people have health care and then the people who are outthere busting it, sometimes

60 hours a week, wind up with their premiums doubled and their coverage cut in half....

"It's the Craziest Thing in the world,"........ From above:...the left-leaning American Bridge Political Action Committee blamed President Donald Trump..... *** Bubba called OBAMACARE, the Craziest Thing in the world, yet the Lefty Loons say Obamacare's failure is Trumps fault, now that's "CRAZY"............ P.S. I'm still waiting for my $2,500.00 savings.......