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Halifax County residents face loss of Anthem health coverage

SoVaNow.com / August 14, 2017
Some 206,000 customers in Virginia — and significant numbers in Halifax County — will lose their current Anthem health coverage next year with the insurer’s decision to stop selling individual plans in Virginia in 2018.

The move by Anthem, announced late Friday, threatens to leave Halifax County with only one provider on the federal marketplace exchange, Piedmont Community HealthCare. Piedmont and Anthem offered plans on the exchange for Halifax County residents in 2017.

By the close of the January enrollment period,1,624 Halifax County were signed up for insurance through the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. The 2017 coverage numbers included 413 new signups, with the vast majority of local customers qualifying for income-based tax credits to pay their monthly premiums, according to federal government statistics.

The data does not specify how many county residents on the exchange are signed up through Anthem. More than half of the estimated 360,000 Virginians on the federal marketplace exchange get their policies through Anthem.

In a statement, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Virginia President Jeff Ricketts said the company’s exit from the Virginia individual insurance market was “not an easy decision for us.”

Noting that Anthem was “proud to offer affordable health plans that give Virginian’s access to quality health care,” Ricketts wrote on the company’s website that Anthem responded to implementation of the Affordable Care Act by creating a “new set of quality, affordable health plans” to offer to consumers.

“But the market for these plans has become unstable,” Ricketts stated. “And with federal rules and guidance changing, it’s no longer possible for us to offer those plans.”

Anthem becomes the third insurer to withdraw from Virginia’s exchange in 2018, following UnitedHealthcare and Aetna, which announced similar decisions earlier this year.

Anthem, however, is by far the largest presence on Virginia’s heath insurance market. The company accounts for more than a third of all sickness and accident insurance sold in Virginia, including employer-based group plans and “grandfathered” individual health insurance plans that are sold outside of the ACA marketplace.

Along with dropping Obamacare policies, Anthem will cease to sell off-exchange private insurance plans everywhere in Virginia except for a small portion of southwest Virginia.

Individual customers who signed up for insurance through Anthem can keep their coverage through 2017. The open enrollment period for 2018 Obamacare plans begins Nov. 1.

In a statement, Virginia Insurance Commissioner Jacqueline K. Cunningham called Anthem’s announcement “unwelcome news for many Virginia consumers” and said the decision came despite state efforts to convince the company to continue to sell private insurance.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, placed the blame for Anthem’s decision squarely on Republican efforts to undermine the Affordable Care Act following failed efforts by the Republican-controlled Congress to repeal the law.

“Anthem leadership informed me this afternoon about its decision to leave the federal insurance exchange in Virginia, citing the President’s threats to cut off cost-sharing reduction payments to insurers and his deliberate efforts to dismantle the individual insurance market,” said McAuliffe in a statement Friday. “It’s unfortunate Anthem felt it could no longer participate in the exchange because of the uncertainty created by the President and Congress.

“Today’s decision will result in more than 200,000 Virginians losing their quality, affordable coverage through Anthem, representing approximately half of the Virginians who purchase insurance on the exchange.”

President Trump has repeatedly threatened to cut off federal subsidies to insurance companies that go to pay for cost-sharing reductions for low-income consumers. The cost-sharing reductions, required under the law, reduce deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs for purchasers based on household income.

Uncertainty about the payments, expected to amount to $10 billion next year, was one of the factors cited by Anthem in its decision to depart the Virginia market.

The latest blow to Virginia’s insurance market comes in the wake of an industry pullback across the U.S. Critics of Obamacare say the shrinking participation is a sign the law is imploding, while the law’s defenders blame deliberate sabotage by the Trump Administration for the wave of marketplace departures.

“President Trump has been playing politics with health care for months now, and unfortunately, Virginians will be the ones paying the price,” said Virginia senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, both Democrats, in a joint statement. “President Trump has said that he wants Obamacare to ‘implode,’ and his Administration is deliberately destabilizing the health insurance marketplace in order to achieve that goal,” the senators wrote.

Republicans responded that Obamacare is failing under its own weight and said the answer is replacement of the law, a goal that GOP members of Congress have all but abandoned.

“The federalization of health care, authored and enacted solely by Democrats, has been an abject failure,” said state Sen. Tommy Norment, Republican majority leader, in a statement. He said U.S. Senators — 48 Democrats and three Republicans — who blocked a GOP bill that even supporters said would not pass Congress “today have a responsibility to end their recalcitrance and act now to fix this.”



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Bringing communist supporter Dr. Quinton Young's hopes and dreams to life. Because healthcare in communist countries is so grand. Doesn't everyone want government deciding what treatment you get? Democratic Socialists of America are very active aren't they Senator Tim Kaine?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KiAZfk6nWks

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Dr. Quentin Young

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Good luck to Robert Mueller on his hunt for Russian collusion. You may want to start with the Democratic Socialists of America and all the politicians they give money to.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Py8BF0hHPnc

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A bunch of rich people lobby politicians to pass trade deals resulting in this, "Between 1993 and 2012, the number of manufacturing establishments fell by 71,525." http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2015/apr/23/ed-schultz/msnbcs-schultz-trade-deals-closed-50000-factories/
And now government is going to fix the "problem" by providing health insurance to all. Stop trying to fix the symptom of the problem. Stop running an annual trade deficit of $400 to $500 billion with communist countries like China. Change these corrupt trade deals and bring back the factories so people can actually afford their own insurance

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Enter the commie who thinks bread lines are a good thing. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=zJBjjP8WSbc
Rationed health care to go with rationed food.
https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/vermont/articles/2017-08-14/sanders-to-introduce-medicare-for-all-plan-soon


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