All U.S. Counties Will Have Access to ACA Coverage in 2018

All U.S. counties will have access to ACA coverage options in 2018 after health insurer CareSource decided to join the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) federal marketplace in a small Ohio county.

CareSource is filling a gap created by Anthem Inc.’s decision in June 2017 to exit Ohio’s insurance exchanges. Other large insurers, including Aetna, announced similar plans to pull out of several states’ exchanges, citing declining sales and uncertainty over the future of the health-care market. After those announcements, many were concerned that people living in certain areas of the country would not be able to purchase ACA plans.

Ohio’s insurance regulators were able to negotiate with insurers to sell plans in counties that could have been left without coverage options in 2018 – potentially affecting 11,000 people who purchased ACA coverage in 2017.

Consumers will still face limited options, as is the case for an estimated 2.5 million people who live in “bare counties” where only one insurer plans to offer coverage through the ACA marketplace in 2018. The plans offered in the current marketplace will likely change when insurers sign contracts in the fall, ahead of open enrollment for 2018, which has been shortened to a 45-day window.

Source: Bloomberg, August 24, 2017.