Despite Exits, Nationwide Exchange Coverage Increases

Since the July 26 CMS press release detailing health insurance exchange participation by county, the number of U.S. counties without an exchange carrier has decreased 58% from 40 to 17, according to an August 9 coverage map released by CMS. The map also shows the number of projected exchange participants without coverage dropped 65%, from 27,660 to 9,595. The announcement follows Molina’s sudden exit from the Wisconsin and Utah markets and Nevada’s loss of both Anthem and Aetna.

A large portion of these increases in presence can be attributed to recent changes in the Ohio insurance exchange. After 2018 exits from Anthem, Humana and Premier Health Plan were announced earlier this year, more than 20 Ohio counties were left without any carriers, leaving more than 11,000 people without coverage, according to the Ohio Department of Insurance. However, on July 31, the state announced its five remaining insurers would work together to ensure coverage in these areas and had established offerings for 19 counties. The five insurers adding anywhere from two to seven counties to their coverage area are Buckeye Health Plan (Centene Corp.), CareSource, Medical Mutual, Molina Healthcare and Paramount Health Care.

The deadline for insurers to sign contracts allowing their participation on the federal exchange is September 27.