Anthem — one of the five largest public health insurance companies in the US — may pull out of the Affordable Care Act’s public exchanges if the market does not improve in 2017.
Following its third quarter results on Wednesday, CEO Joseph Swedish said that the insurer will evaluate its participation in the ACA’s, better known as Obamacare, exchanges for 2018 when it gets the results of the 2017 plan year.
“If we do not see clear evidence of an improving environment and a path towards sustainability in the marketplace, we will likely modify our strategy in 2018,” said Swedish during the company’s earnings call on Wednesday.
“Clearly, 2017 is a critical year as we continue to assess the long-term viability of our exchange footprint.”
The firm currently has 889,000 people enrolled on exchange-based plans according to the call.
This would mark the fourth of the five largest US health insurance companies to pull out substantially from the markets after Aetna, UnitedHealthcare, and Humana. All of these companies have cited a pool of people signing up through the public exchanges that are sicker and costlier than expected leading to substantial losses for the companies.
The announcement comes just 24 hours after open enrollment began for Obamacare, marking a critical time for the administration.