Health insurance giant Anthem will not offer policies on the 2018 Ohio health insurance exchange, an article on the New York Times website said.
After the announcement, Vox.com Senior Policy Consultant Sarah Kliff tweeted, "Anthem just quit Ohio. That leaves 20 counties with zero Obamacare insurers in 2018."
Anthem's decision will affect approximately 10,500 Ohio residents.
Opponents of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, pointed to the announcement as proof that the ACA is collapsing, despite Anthem's increased overall profits and stock price increases. Anthem covered 1.1 million people through the state exchanges and another 500,000 who purchased individual policies.
President Donald Trump and the Republican members of Congress had threatened to stop funding subsidies that help low-income consumers purchase health insurance. Anthem responded by announcing it may leave the ACA exchanges if the federal subsidies were halted.
Democratic legislators pointed at their Republican colleagues for destabilizing the ACA. The uncertainty has prompted huge price increases in the marketplace.
“They own this health care system now,” Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) told the New York Times. “Because they fiddled for the last five months and injected more uncertainty into the insurance market, premiums have gone up and insurance companies have pulled out.”
The deadline for health insurance companies to announce whether they will continue offering insurance through the ACA exchanges is rapidly approaching. Anthem has requested a 21 percent increase in premiums in the states where it still offers coverage. Other companies, such as Maine's Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, are asking for increases of 40 percent or more.