There’s more to Blue KC’s Obamacare exit than just financial losses

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City cited $100 million in cumulative losses in explaining its decision last month to exit the Affordable Care Act exchange after three years.

But in discussions with Kansas Insurance Department regulators leading up to it, Blue KC officials said they wanted Congress to make changes to the current law, commonly called “Obamacare,” and wanted assurances that Republican efforts to dismantle the law wouldn’t cause them more financial problems.

Correspondence between Blue KC and officials with the Kansas Insurance Department show Coni Fries, Blue KC’s vice president of government relations, gave Kansas Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer a 14-point wish list prior to meetings that she and Selzer had with Kansas congressional representatives in Washington.

The texts and emails give another window into what insurers are looking for as state deadlines to submit 2018 insurance plans come while the Republican effort to revamp Obamacare moves forward in fits and starts.

Many of the concerns Blue KC outlined in the wish list were things other insurers have said publicly: that they wanted tougher rules to keep people from jumping into ACA individual health insurance market only when they know they need medical care, but they also wanted to be sure they would continue receiving subsidies to defray the cost of insuring sick and low-income people.

Blue KC has declined requests to interview executives about the decision, which leaves about 67,000 customers in 30 northwest Missouri counties and Johnson and Wyandotte counties in Kansas looking for new insurance plans for 2018.

Read more: Kansas City Star


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