Anthem to Sell ACA Exchange Plans in Virginia to Fill Gap

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Anthem Inc. reversed course and said it will offer Affordable Care Act exchange plans in Virginia, after a pullback by another insurer threatened to leave the state with large gaps in coverage.

Anthem revised its 2018 offerings, saying in a statement that it would now offer plans in 68 cities and counties in Virginia. Around the United States, insurers face deadlines at the end of this month to decide whether they will participate in states’ ACA exchange programs and what plans they will offer.

Anthem had earlier said it would exit Virginia entirely next year, along with rivals Aetna Inc. and UnitedHealth Group Inc.

(Related: Insurers Are ‘Holding a Knife to Their Own Throat’: Kaine)   

Shares of the insurer were little changed in trading on Friday, and have gained 30 percent so far this year.

Most of the areas where Anthem will now sell coverage would have been left without access to any ACA exchange plans after Optima Health Plan decided to pare its presence in the state last week. Optima’s change in plans could have left about 70,000 people in 63 counties without ACA exchange coverage available to them for next year. The insurer later said it would offer plans in five counties that otherwise wouldn’t have had options.

Anthem has pulled back from ACA exchange markets in nine states as uncertainty around the Affordable Care Act grows. The Trump administration has cut outreach funding and Republicans in Congress are still weighing efforts to repeal the law despite a separate effort within their own party to stabilize it.

— Read ACA 2017: Cigna Might Sell Through Virginia Exchange on ThinkAdvisor.

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