END OF 2018 OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD (41 states)

Time: D H M S

Maine: (sigh) I hate it when I'm right...Anthem bails at last minute "citing uncertainty"

Me, 8 days ago:

More to the point, however: What other significance does not including CSR funding have?

...That means that even if there's a last minute change to the bill, at this point, CSR payments are virtually certain not be guaranteed next year.

...I wouldn't be at all surprised to see more 11th-hour drop-outs next week. Donald Trump and the Republican Party's open sabotage of the ACA will likely bear even more fruit.

Today, literally 11 hours before the contract signing deadline:

Anthem leaving Maine ACA marketplace, citing uncertainty

Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield has withdrawn nearly all of its offerings from Maine’s Affordable Care Act health insurance marketplace, and the insurer is citing market uncertainty and volatility as the reasons.

“A stable insurance market is dependent on products that create value for consumers through the broad spreading of risk and a known set of conditions upon which rates can be developed,” said Anthem spokesman Colin Manning in a statement. “Today, planning and pricing for ACA-compliant health plans has become increasingly difficult.”

He listed the shrinking and deteriorating individual market and continued changes and uncertainty in federal operations, including the future of cost-sharing reduction subsidies, among other factors.

Anthem has 28,700 customers on the ACA’s individual marketplace, out of more than 80,000 Mainers who obtain insurance on the marketplace. Anthem’s exit leaves Community Health Options and Harvard Pilgrim as the only insurers to offer plans with subsidies to help pay for premiums. Most enrollees qualify for the subsidies, which are available to those earning up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level. A Harvard Pilgrim spokeswoman said a decision for Maine’s marketplace will be announced later today. Community Health Options, a cooperative that formed in Lewiston as part of the ACA’s efforts to boost choices for customers, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Wednesday is a deadline for insurers to sign federal contracts to participate in the 2018 marketplace. CHO has 41,400 enrollees, while Harvard Pilgrim has 20,800.

The Trump administration has not committed to long-term funding of the cost-sharing reductions, which help people at less than 250 percent of the federal poverty limit afford insurance. Enrollees are still entitled to the cost-sharing reductions, but if the Trump administration eliminates the funding for them, insurers would be on the hook to pay them out.

“Anthem will not sell individual plans on the health insurance exchange in Maine for 2018. Additionally, Anthem will reduce its current health plan offerings and offer one off-exchange, gold-level plan that will only be available in Aroostook, Hancock and Washington counties,’ Manning said.

Assuming the other two carriers (Harvard Pilgrim and Maine CHO) stick around, this means around 29,700 Maine residents will have to shop around next year (Aetna dropped out earlier this year, but only had about 1,000 enrollees). However, it doesn't really change the average rate hike one way or the other, because Anthem's was about the same as the statewide average anyway (roughly 21% with CSRs, 25% without them).

HOPEFULLY this will be the only last-minute drop out announcement before midnight tonight, which is supposed to be the deadline for the final 2018 contracts to be signed...