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Anthem becomes third insurer to exit Virginia’s health care exchange

RICHMOND, Va. – Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield announced that they will no longer offer individual health insurance plans in Virginia, beginning in 2018.

The company, who has recently announced departure from multiple states, explained that “the Individual market remains volatile.”

Governor Terry McAuliffe said the decision will result in more than 200,000 Virginians losing "quality, affordable coverage through Anthem, representing approximately half of the Virginians who purchase insurance on the exchange."

Two other major insurers – Aetna and UnitedHealthCare --previously announced their exit from the marketplace.

"Congress and the Administration must immediately take action to stabilize the health insurance market in Virginia and across the nation, or risk further harm to the millions of Americans who rely on the exchanges for affordable coverage," McAuliffe said.

Anthem said they do not believe the insurance market is stable and that “planning and pricing for ACA-compliant health plans has become increasingly difficult due to a shrinking and deteriorating individual market, as well as continual changes and uncertainty in federal operations, rules and guidance, including cost sharing reduction subsidies and the restoration of taxes on fully insured coverage."

The statement was similar to the ones issued to other states it plans to depart: Wisconsin, Ohio, Nevada, and Indiana.

Anthem will reduce its 2018 Individual plan offering and will only offer off-exchange plans in Washington and Scott Counties, and in Bristol.

The decision does not affect those who have employer-based insurance or individuals enrolled in “grandfathered” plans (plans purchased before March 2010), or those enrolled in Medicaid or Medicare plans.

“Our commitment to members has always been to provide greater access to affordable, quality healthcare, and we will continue to advocate solutions that will stabilize the market and allow us to return to a more robust presence in Virginia in the future,” an Anthem representative said in a statement.

Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) offered up Anthem’s departure as “further proof that the markets are collapsing and Obamacare is broken.”

Howell called for a repeal and replacement of Obamacare, something that Senate Republicans have been unable to do so far.

“Now is the time for Congress to come together and figure out a solution that gives much-needed relief to hardworking families,” Howell said. “If Congress continues to kick the can down the road, it will only exacerbate the problems we currently face.”

U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine said that Virginians are paying the price for President Trump playing politics with health care.

“Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have already begun working in a bipartisan way to explore ways we can improve the health care system and provide additional stability to the health care marketplaces," the Senators said in a joint statement. "President Trump should stop using the health coverage of millions of Americans as political leverage, and demonstrate leadership by working with responsible members of both parties to improve the Affordable Care Act.”