Anthem Inc. is likely to pull back from the Affordable Care Act’s individual insurance markets in a big way for next year, according to a report from analysts who said they met with the company. The move could limit coverage options for consumers at a politically crucial time for the law.
Anthem “is leaning toward exiting a high percentage of the 144 rating regions in which it currently participates,” Jefferies analysts David Windley and David Styblo said Thursday in a research note.
An exit by Anthem might be devastating to insurance markets created by the Affordable Care Act, which is often called Obamacare. The company, which sells coverage under the Blue Cross and Blue Shield brand in 14 states including Missouri, is one of the few big insurers that has stuck with the ACA. UnitedHealth Group Inc. and Aetna Inc. have already exited most states, and Humana Inc. is planning to stop offering individual ACA plans entirely for 2018.
If Anthem quits, consumers in parts of Missouri and three other states would be at risk of having no Obamacare insurers for next year, according to an analysis from Axios, a news website.
Anthem is talking with the administration “to emphasize the importance of regulatory and statutory changes in order to ensure sustainability and affordability of the individual market for consumers,” it said in an emailed statement. The company continues to “actively pursue policy changes that will help with market stabilization and achieve the common goal of making quality health care more affordable and accessible for all.”
The insurer lost $374 million on its individual health plans last year, and is targeting a modest profit for 2017, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. Anthem has the biggest financial risk tied to Obamacare among major insurers, with an estimated 8.6 percent of 2017 revenue coming from the individual market, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.
Read more: Bloomberg