Anthem leaves federal health insurance exchange in Virginia: Reactions

Anthem announced today that it is pulling out of the “volatile” Virginia health insurance marketplace created under Obamacare.

healthcareA key factor: uncertainty created by signals sent by President Trump that he will order an end to cost-sharing subsidies.

“While we are pleased that some steps have been taken to address the long term challenges all health plans serving the Individual market are facing, the Individual market remains volatile,” Anthem said in a statement. “A stable insurance market is dependent on products that create value for consumers through the broad spreading of risk and a known set of conditions upon which rates can be developed.”

Virginia leaders responded with a mix of shock and finger-pointing.


U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine:
“As a result of the uncertainty, mixed signals and deliberate sabotage from the Trump Administration, some insurers will raise premiums and scale back their health insurance offerings in the individual market, which serves more than 400,000 people in Virginia. It is unfortunate that others, such as Anthem, are choosing to leave the marketplace altogether.

“President Trump has been playing politics with health care for months now, and unfortunately, Virginians will be the ones paying the price. A report issued this week by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation found that the Administration’s actions will lead to double-digit premium increases and more insurers withdrawing from the marketplaces. President Trump has said that he wants Obamacare to ‘implode,’ and his Administration is deliberately destabilizing the health insurance marketplace in order to achieve that goal.

“Insurers still have no idea whether the Administration plans to follow through on its threats to withhold cost-sharing reduction payments. In addition, there are troubling reports about the Trump Administration’s  deliberate efforts to undermine the upcoming open enrollment period, the first under the Trump presidency.

“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. 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.”


Gov. Terry McAuliffe:
“Anthem leadership informed me this afternoon about its decision to leave the federal insurance exchange in Virginia, citing the President’s threats to cut off cost-sharing reduction payments to insurers and his deliberate efforts to dismantle the individual insurance market. It’s unfortunate Anthem felt it could no longer participate in the exchange because of the uncertainty created by the President and Congress. Today’s decision will result in more than 200,000 Virginians losing their quality, affordable coverage through Anthem, representing approximately half of the Virginians who purchase insurance on the exchange.

“I again urge the Administration to stop playing politics with people’s lives and come together in a bipartisan way to provide certainty for insurers that cost-sharing reduction payments will continue to be funded through 2018, in order to stabilize the marketplace in the short term. 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.”


Bill Howell, Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates:
“Today’s announcement from Anthem is further proof that the markets are collapsing and Obamacare is broken. Anthem now joins two other major insurers exiting the Virginia marketplace for 2018: Aetna and UnitedHealthcare. This will leave fewer than 5 insurers offering health insurance to Virginians, most of whom will now only get one choice for insurance. This is on top of already double digit premium increases for 2018.

“Obamacare needs to be repealed and replaced, that much is clear. Obamacare is hurting more people than it is helping, forcing Americans to buy insurance they don’t like, don’t need, and cannot afford. Now is the time for Congress to come together and figure out a solution that gives much needed relief to hardworking families. If Congress continues to kick the can down the road, it will only exacerbate the problems we currently face.”