Major health insurer plans to pull back from Obamacare

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As congressional lawmakers mull the best way to reform Obamacare, major health insurance company Anthem Inc. has said it will most likely pull out of various state Obamacare markets in 2018.

Anthem Chief Executive Officer Joseph Swedish said on Tuesday that the company is in talks with some of the 14 states in which it offers Obamacare plans to decide whether to sell coverage in 2018. Anthem has already announced either the full or partial withdrawal of services from nine of the 14 states.

The 14 states include California, Nevada, Colorado, Wisconsin, Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia, Georgia, New York, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Maine.

“There are still some remaining states that we are in negotiation with, both the regulators as well as the legislative arena, to position ourselves appropriately,” Swedish told investors at the Morgan Stanley Global Healthcare Conference in New York. “There are due dates that are still in play with respect to being able to make an announcement, so we’re going to reserve any further statement about whether we’re in our out of various states until those due dates pass.”

Anthem had around 1.5 million customers in Obamacare-compliant health plans as of June 30, including approximately 1 million who signed up through the health law’s exchanges.

Swedish didn’t give details on which states were in negotiation or how the company will decide which states it will completely versus partially abandon. The insurer has said it will continue to sell Obamacare coverage in three states — Colorado, New Hampshire, and New York.

In Washington, D.C., the issue of health care is far from resolved. Most lawmakers are unwilling to give any bill their blessing that doesn’t offer the type of complete overhaul they want.

“I am concerned that many of the proposals for a bipartisan solution would amount to little more than a bailout of the current system,” Utah Republican Orrin Hatch said on Tuesday. “An Obamacare bailout that is not accompanied by real reforms would be inadvisable.”

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