Anthem is a Blue Cross and Blue Shield company and one of the largest healthcare insurance providers in the state of Ohio. They rocked the state’s healthcare world by announcing that they were pulling out of Ohio’s Obamacare exchange program in 2018. Their exit will leave around 275,000 Ohioans without healthcare coverage next year.
The reason for their exit is questionable, at least to me. In their official announcement, Anthem said the reason for their Ohio exit is due to the uncertainty of Obamacare’s future, considering what is happening with the Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. But is that the real reason or could it be that Anthem, like so many other healthcare insurance providers, have been losing money on Obamacare exchange policies?
Consider this when thinking about the real reason Anthem is pulling out of the Ohio market. Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City, Humana and Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa have also announced they are withdrawing from Obamacare in 2018. Their reasons do include the uncertainty of the future of Obamacare, but they were also honest in laying part of the blame for their withdrawal on the heavy losses they have experienced participating in the Obamacare program.
One of the provisions of Obamacare that was supposed to be such a success was the establishment of CO-OPs. However, by 2016, 12 of the 23 taxpayer-funded state CO-OPs in 14 states have failed, leaving 740,000 people without coverage and having to search for affordable healthcare that they cannot afford. In December 2016, UnitedHealth Group reported reducing their fourth quarter earnings by $425 million due to losses incurred by their Obamacare policies.
Another large healthcare insurance provider, UnitedHealth Group, reported losing millions of dollars on Obamacare policies back in 2015. At the time, they held over 550,000 Obamacare exchange policies and were having to re-think their entire company strategy due to the huge losses they incurred on their Obamacare policies.
In June 2015, Hawaii was forced to drop their state’s Obamacare exchange program due to economic reasons. They ended up having to join the federally run Healthcare.gov program.
In August 2015, it was reported that 376,000 people in Texas were receiving notices that that their health insurance policies were being cancelled due to Obamacare. Several million Americans have had their healthcare insurance premiums cancelled, all due to Obamacare requirements and costs.
UnitedHealth Group, Aetna, Humana, Anthem, Blue Cross and Blue Shield and many other healthcare insurance providers have lost millions of dollars due to Obamacare exchange policies. One of the solutions was to increase premium rates. The increases they wanted weren’t just a few percent, but rather they were large increases.
In June 2015, it was reported:
“Perhaps the weakening support and growing opposition has been sparked by the rate increases being requested in many states as reported by Michael D. Tanner:”
“Already we’ve seen requests for increases for individual plans as high as 64.8 percent in Texas, 61 percent in Pennsylvania, 51.6 percent in New Mexico, 36.3 percent in Tennessee, 30.4 percent in Maryland, 25 percent in Oregon, and 19.9 percent in Washington. Those increases would come on top of premium increases last year that were 24.4 percent above what they would have been without Obamacare, according to a study from the National Bureau of Economic Research. At the same time, deductibles for the cheapest Obamacare plans now average about $5,180 for individuals and $10,500 for families.”
Over the past several years, many states have seen healthcare insurance rates increase by 50% and more, just so the insurance companies would break even.
Obamacare may have resulted in some Americans finally getting health insurance, but millions of others lost their coverage. Many insurance companies have pulled out of Obamacare, even after huge increases in premium rates. Every way one turns, Obamacare has been a complete failure.
It also means that there is no way that Republicans in Congress can come up with any workable and acceptable national healthcare plan that won’t bankrupt insurance companies or the United States. Anthem’s withdrawal could be a sign of the impossibility of anyone coming up with a truly affordable and acceptable national healthcare plan.