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Anthem Leaving Ohio's Health Care Exchange

Anthem insurance sign on building.
Matthew Hurst
Flickr Creative Commons
Anthem announced it would leave Ohio's public insurance exchange in 2018.

One of the nation's biggest health insurers says it will not return to Ohio's public insurance exchanges next year, a decision that could open more holes in the Affordable Care Act's increasingly thin system for helping people buy coverage.

The decision by the Indianapolis-based health insurance company Anthem could leave Ohioans in as many 20 counties without an option for buying individual coverage on the exchange, unless another insurer steps in.

Exchanges are the only place where people can use an income-based tax credit to help cover the cost of health coverage.

Anthem said uncertainty caused by plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act and President Trump’s repeated threats to stop Cost Sharing Reduction payments were reasons for their decision to leave Ohio’s exchanges.

Ohio Congressman Pat Tiberi, an Obamacare critic said the decision by Anthem was a sign the Affordable Care Act was struggling.

“This is just more evidence that conditions under Obamacare are just going to get worse," he said. "It is collapsing under its own weight.”

Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown said the loss of coverage could lead to higher insurance premiums.

“The dangerous game President Trump and Washington politicians are playing just caused 70,000 paying customers in Ohio to lose their insurance and it will continue raising prices for everyone else," Brown said. "It’s got to stop,”

Another insurer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, said late last month that it also was leaving the exchanges, a decision that could leave 25 counties in that market with no on-exchange options. Several insurers also have said they will return to the exchanges.