Brown Responds to Anthem Leaving Ohio: Stop Playing Games with People’s Healthcare

Anthem Cited Uncertainty Caused by GOP Repeal Efforts, President’s Threats to Stop Cost Sharing Reduction Payments

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown is calling on Washington to end uncertainty in the healthcare market, which led to insurance company Anthem pulling out of the state’s individual health insurance market for 2018. In a statement, Anthem cited uncertainty caused by plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act and President Trump’s repeated threats to stop Cost Sharing Reduction (CSR) Payments that reduce out-of-pocket costs for Ohioans buying insurance in the individual market as the reasons for their decision to exit the exchanges in Ohio.

“The dangerous game President Trump and Washington politicians are playing just caused 70,000 paying customers in Ohio to lose their insurance and it will continue raising prices for everyone else. It’s got to stop,” Brown said. “We are talking about people’s lives – their ability to get cancer treatment, afford life-saving medicines and take their kids to the doctor. Instead of using working families as bargaining chips and driving up prices across the market, we need to work together to lower costs and make healthcare work better for everyone.”

  • According to reports, 18-20 Ohio counties could be left with no insurer at all in 2018, leaving Ohioans in those counties with no ability to purchase insurance.
  • 66,000 Ohio customers will lose their current insurance plan - 44,000 on exchange, and 22,000 off exchange.

In a statement to the Dayton Daily news, Anthem said, “. . . the lack of certainty of funding for cost sharing reduction subsidies, the restoration of taxes on fully insured coverage and, an increasing lack of overall predictability simply does not provide a sustainable path forward to provide affordable plan choices for consumers.”

A May report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities warned that uncertainty over the cost sharing reduction subsidies Anthem cites would destabilize the market:

By refusing to include a measure guaranteeing the continued payment of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) cost-sharing reductions (CSRs) in the new fiscal year 2017 spending bill, the Administration and congressional Republican leaders have endangered health coverage for millions of Americans.  They will bear responsibility for the premium increases, marketplace disruption, and coverage losses that will likely result.