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Lack of CSRs one reason Anthem BCBS to leave ACA market in Ohio

Anthem cites cost-sharing reduction payments, the return of the health insurance tax, among reasons for exit.

Susan Morse, Senior Editor

Citing the return of the health insurance tax and an uncertain future for cost-sharing reduction payments, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield is leaving the Affordable Care Act in Ohio in 2018.

The insurer made the announcement Tuesday afternoon, saying it would reduce its 2018 footprint in the state to one off-exchange product in one county.

The decision could leave some people in 18 other counties with limited private, non-employer health insurance options in the future, according to WYSO.

[Also: Aetna to leave ACA market in 2018]

"Today, planning and pricing for ACA-compliant health plans has become increasingly difficult due to the shrinking individual market as well as continual changes in federal operations, rules and guidance," Anthem said by statement. "We are pleased that some steps have been taken to address the long term challenges all health plans serving the individual market are facing, such as improving the eligibility requirements that allow consumers to purchase a plan outside of open enrollment and improved risk adjustment. However, the Individual market remains volatile and the lack of certainty of funding for cost sharing reduction subsidies, the restoration of taxes on fully insured coverage and, an increasing lack of overall predictability simply does not provide a sustainable path forward to provide affordable plan choices for consumers."

President Donald Trump weighed in on the exit Wednesday morning tweeting, "getting ready to leave for Cincinnati, in the GREAT STATE of OHIO, to meet with ObamaCare victims and talk Healthcare & also Infrastructure!"

[Also: Humana strengthened by exit from ACA after suffering $45 million operating loss]

The president has previously said the ACA is failing. Many insurers have left numerous ACA markets amid financial losses and an uncertain future.

[Also: AHIP, AHA, others urge Senate to take action on CSR funding]

Insurers have said they need a guarantee of the continuation of cost-sharing reduction payments for continued stability. The money that allow insurers to give lower income consumers lower deductibles is not in the GOP budget or proposed American Health Care Act.

Twitter: @SusanJMorse