Major players exit health care exchanges

All counties will offer plans in 2018

Posted on Oct 1, 2017 :: Features
Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

The exit of two major players in the Affordable Care Act marketplace introduces much uncertainty for people purchasing plans on the exchanges.

Molina Healthcare is the latest player to leave, announcing in August it would exit the Affordable Care Act marketplace in Wisconsin effective Dec. 31, 2017. The company is one of 14 carriers that offered plans in Wisconsin in 2017. In addition to Molina leaving, health plans Anthem and Health Tradition Health Plan, which serves the La Crosse area, have announced they will exit the exchanges.

Chris Hanson, president of Hanson Benefits, an Appleton-based health insurance agency, says the upheaval means she expects much will remain uncertain until “the 11th hour,” or Nov. 1, the date people can begin enrolling in for a health insurance plan.

“We can’t advise yet,” Hanson says. “Therein lies the issue.”

Much of that uncertainty centers on whether Network Health will offer plans on the federal marketplace, Hanson says. Of Molina, Hanson says, “they were too good to be true.” The company offered the lowest rates, making it a popular choice, she says. Indeed, in its decision to exit, the company cited poor operating performance and a net loss of $230 million for the second quarter of 2017.

Despite the departures, all 72 of Wisconsin’s counties will offer exchange plans in 2018. That includes Menominee County, which had been at risk of losing coverage, as Molina is the only insurer that offers ACA coverage in the county. Security Health Plan announced it will offer coverage in the county in 2018.