Anthem Inc., the nation’s No. 2 health insurer, said Wednesday that it may curtail its participation in the government-run health exchanges in 2018, saying its decision will hinge on whether it loses money on Affordable Care Act plans next year.
A decision to withdraw would be a blow to Missouri and 13 other states where Anthem sells Blue Cross Blue Shield plans on HealthCare.gov.
Competitors Aetna Inc. and UnitedHealth Group Inc. already have largely pulled out of the on-exchange individual market, leaving just a handful of major insurers offering plans for next year.
The market for individual health insurance created under President Barack Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act drew fewer than half the enrollees expected — 12.7 million enrolled at the beginning of 2016 — and those who enrolled were sicker and had higher medical costs than foreseen.
This has led to losses at Anthem, who says it needs to see profits next year and new regulations to stabilize the market before it commits to a 2018 strategy.
Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch