Virginia's ACA Marketplace Has Lost Another Provider, But There is a Silver Lining

Aug 15, 2017

Credit AP Photo / Andrew Harnik

Virginia’s largest insurer is pulling out of the marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act.

Right now, Anthem’s HealthKeepers plan is the only provider for much of rural Virginia. So the company’s decision to stop offering health insurance could have been tragic news for hundreds of thousands of low-income people in Virginia whose health insurance is subsided by the federal government. But there’s a silver lining: Optima is stepping into the void and expanding its coverage into all the places Anthem is pulling out of.

Jill Hanken is with the Virginia Poverty Law Center.

“Even with Anthem withdrawing from the market, every locality in Virginia will have at least one health insurance company offering health insurance in the marketplace.”

Sabrina Corlette at Georgetown University says the political uncertainty in Washington is causing some companies to retreat. But, she says, others are seeing an opportunity.

“We’re seeing the free market at work to some degree in where we are seeing some companies seize an opportunity to perhaps grow their business.”

Before it announced that it was pulling out, Anthem was planning to increase its premium 37%. Optima, on the other hand, will only be increasing its premium 9.8%.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association