Anthem, a US health insurer, will no longer offer plans under Obamacare in the state exchange of Nevada. This is according to the state’s insurance commissioner.
The move is possibly caused by the failure of Republican senators to successfully repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act last month, which was implemented by former US Pres. Barack Obama. There is now uncertainty over how Obamacare will be managed and funded by the year 2018. The program has already provided health benefits to approximately 20 million American citizens.
Many counties in the US are now facing the risk of losing their access to health coverage by next year. This is because insurers are now considering to pull out of such markets in the upcoming months.
The state of Nevada released a statement back in June and said that the residents of at least 14 out of 17 counties within the state will no longer have access to health plans that are qualified on state exchanges. The decision of Anthem to leave this particular key state doesn't add to the number of counties within the state that are already "bare", according to Nevada’s insurance commissioner Barbara Richardson.
On the other hand, the insurer will be able to provide catastrophic plans and they can be purchased outside the state’s exchange. Also, they will only be offered to consumers that are under 30 years old. Low-income individuals may avail of such plans.
Anthem blamed the move to the uncertainty on what the Trump administration will do with the country’s healthcare insurance. Anthem was hoping Pres. Trump would maintain subsidies in order for them to keep costs down.
US Pres. Donald Trump threatened to stop the subsidy payments last week. These payments made the plans accessible and affordable for American citizens who have low income. The subsidy payments also helped insurers keep the premiums down. A lot of effort was exerted to repeal the law signed by former Pres. Obama, but failed in Congress.
Pres. Trump repeatedly urged the Republican lawmakers to incessantly work on undoing Obamacare.
Health policy experts describe counties that have no insurers as Obamacare markets' worst case scenario. Empty counties do not have any back up plan. This means that if Nevada can't convince an insurer to take the place of Anthem, those who have coverage via the exchanges will go without it by the following year.
Anthem's pulling out came despite relative support for the exchanges from Gov. Brian Sandoval. The Republican governor also supported for more people to get covered by Obamacare as he opposed to every single proposal congressional Republicans presented in repealing and replacing Obamacare.
Perhaps most importantly, Obamacare market's future in the state would become a sticking point during the reelection bid of Dean Heller, GOP Senator, in 2018.