Anthem returning to ACA exchange in Ohio in 2019

Anthem will be once again selling individual health insurance plans next year in Ohio after its dramatic exit from the Obamacare exchanges during 2018.

The insurance company will sell plans in 25 counties in the state including Warren and Butler counties, according to filings with the Ohio Department of Insurance, which regulates the exchanges.

Open enrollment for coverage next year begins Nov. 1. and runs through Dec. 15.

Anthem said in a statement that the insurer “remains committed to making healthcare coverage more simple, affordable and accessible for all consumers and will continue to advocate for solutions that will stabilize the individual market.”

Anthem stated that the insurer assesses the market each year and “participates where the company believes there is sufficient stability.”

Affordable Care Act exchanges 
There will be more options for individual health plans in 2019 in local counties.  
ButlerBuckeye, CareSource, Anthem, Medical Mutual, Molina
ChampaignBuckeye, Medical Mutual, Molina
ClarkBuckeye, CareSource, Medical Mutual, Molina
DarkeBuckeye, Medical Mutual
GreeneBuckeye, Medical Mutual, CareSource, Molina
MiamiCareSource, Medical Mutual
MontgomeryBuckeye, CareSource, Medical Mutual, Molina
PrebleBuckeye, CareSource, Medical Mutual
WarrenBuckeye, CareSource, Anthem, Medical Mutual
Source: Ohio Department of Insurance

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Most counties in the region will have more options to choose from next year, signaling the market is starting to stabilize.

In 2018, eight companies sold health insurance products on the exchange in Ohio and 42 counties had just one insurer with an additional 20 counties having only two.

But for next year, 10 companies have filed rates and forms for the department to review and all 88 counties will have at least one insurer. Preliminary filings show 16 counties with just one insurer and 33 counties with two.

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Miami County will have two insurance carriers next year selling individual plans instead of one. This year the only individual plan in the county — sold by CareSource — is not in-network with Upper Valley Medical Center, the only hospital in the county.

Molina and Medical Mutual are entering new counties and health insurance startup Oscar Health is expanding into the Columbus metro.

“I think what it tells me on the surface is that carriers are slightly more optimistic about what the exchange could offer,” said Scott McGohan, CEO of insurance benefits brokerage firm McGohan Brabender.

Costs of individual plans are still rising, though subsidies offset those spikes for some people.

For 2019 the weighted average premium is $6,161.56, an increase of 6.3 percent, according to the Ohio Department of Insurance.

Preliminary estimates had predicted the average premium in Ohio for individual plans would increase 8.2 percent for 2019, but that estimate has since changed.

In 2018, the weighted average premium for an individual plan was $5,798.83.

While the increase still outpaces employer-sponsored insurance, the rates are rising at a slower pace than last year when premiums rose an average of 34 percent.

About 11 percent of the increase was because the Ohio Department of Insurance required insurance companies to assume they would lose federal subsidies that help lower costs.

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