Another insurer leaves Ohio health care exchange

COLUMBUS - A Dayton-based insurer is the latest to leave Ohio's health care exchange, leaving people in nine Southwest Ohio counties with one fewer option.

The Premier Health Plan said Thursday that uncertainty surrounding the future of the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, fueled its decision to leave the Ohio exchange as of Jan. 1, 2018. The move affects people in nine counties, including Butler and Warren.

“We cannot effectively plan and price affordable health insurance to sell on the exchange” because of uncertainty in Washington and related volatility in the health care marketplace, said Renee George, president of Premier Health Plan, in a statement.

The move comes weeks after Anthem announced it would withdraw. The decision left residents in 20 counties with no insurer on Ohio's exchange for 2018.

Premier Health serves considerably fewer Ohioans than Anthem, but its departure underscores a troubling trend in Ohio's health care.

Republicans blame Obamacare's flaws for the fleeing insurers while Democrats point to the uncertainty in Washington over a replacement. This week, Senate Republicans in Washington delayed a vote on their overhaul of Obamacare, uncertain if they had enough votes to proceed. After the delay, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman said he opposed the changes in their current form.

Ohio is working to find insurers for the counties only one exchange insurer next year.

“As the department works to identify options for 2018, federal action is needed to help restore stability and provide clarity to Ohioans and insurers,” said Chris Brock, a spokesman with the Ohio Department of Insurance.

Premier will continue to offer health insurance for employer-provided plans in Ohio.

The Cincinnati Enquirer


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