Insurance giant Anthem said Friday that it will provide insurance on the Obamacare exchanges in 63 Virginia counties that were previously in danger of having no insurer for 2018.
“As a result of the ongoing discussions, today, Anthem filed to revise its Individual health plan offerings for 2018 to include both on- and-off exchange Individual plans in 68 cities and counties in Virginia,” the company said in a press release.
“Sixty-three of these cities and counties would otherwise not have access to Individual market health plans. This decision will positively impact up to 70,000 Virginians — many of whom would not have had access to important health care coverage.”
The counties became bare on September 6 when Virginia-based insurer Optima said it would shrink its footprint in the state. Optima already decided to reenter five counties, meaning Anthem is technically filling 58 empty ones.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe applauded the decision in a tweet.
“Just got call from @AnthemInc. They are staying in Virginia! No bare counties. Thank you, Anthem! You have saved VA lives,” McAuliffe tweeted.
The possibility of counties going without an insurer has long been one of the biggest potential setbacks for the exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act, the healthcare law better known as Obamacare, since there is no backup option for people in areas without an insurer.
Anthem already pulled out of several states due to profit and political instability concerns, something that could indicate Virginia is a more profitable market for the insurer.
Virginia’s counties being filled means no county in the US is slated to have empty areas next year. Nevada, Ohio, Indiana, and more all faced the possibility at some point in 2017.
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