Anthem to exit 17 counties in Missouri; Utah to pay down part of Arches Health Plan's debt to providers

In 2018, Anthem will exit 17 of the 85 counties in Missouri where it currently sells ACA exchange plans. (Matthew Hurst/CC BY-SA 2.0)

Anthem, which has already announced multiple Affordable Care Act exchange exits for 2018, says it is reducing its footprint in yet another state.

The insurer said Friday that it will exit 17 of the 85 counties in Missouri in which it currently offers individual marketplace plans. The 68 counties where it will remain next year are ones that would otherwise not have health insurance coverage for their residents, according to a statement from Anthem.

Anthem gave the same reason for its pullback as it has when announcing other 2018 exits, saying that while “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.”

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Previously, the insurer has announced that it will exit the exchanges in Virginia, Nevada, Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio in 2018, and that it will reduce its presence on the exchanges in California and Georgia. In the states where it plans to leave the exchanges, though, it will continue to sell at least one off-exchange product—allowing Anthem to re-enter the exchanges in 2019 if it chooses. 

In other state news, the Utah Insurance Department is set to pay $10 million to healthcare providers over the next six months toward the debt of unpaid claims left behind by the defunct Arches Health Plan, according to the Deseret News. 

Arches Health Plan shut down in 2015, joining a slew of other consumer-operated and oriented plans that have flopped since they were created under the Affordable Care Act.  

The $10 million that Utah providers are slated to receive is just a small fraction of the $36 million they’re owed in the wake of Arches’ failure, the article noted. In addition, the now-shuttered CO-OP owes $90 million to the federal government, and $2 million in unpaid debts to insurance agents and unpaid advertising costs.