Late last week, Anthem Healthkeepers announced plans to offer individual/family health insurance in 63 so-called “bare” counties and cities in Virginia. Anthem had announced just weeks ago its plans to exit most of the state in 2018.
Although the announcement is welcome news for rural areas of the state that were slated to have no insurance carriers in 2018, if you live in a more major metropolitan area (Northern Virginia, Richmond, or Hampton Roads), this change does not affect you; Anthem will not be an option in 2018.
There will be other options to explore, and we expect to have full information by the start of open enrollment on November 1, 2017.
Please note: Anthem’s “grandfathered” plans (those purchased prior to March 23, 2010, with no changes made to the plan’s benefits) are not impacted.
Anthem Healthkeepers “Breaking News” Flash
Copied below is the text of a news flash published on September 15, 2017:
HealthKeepers has served consumers in the Individual market in Virginia for decades and we remain committed to ensuring all Virginians have an option for health insurance coverage available to them.
Since learning that 63 counties and cities would not have access to Individual health plans, HealthKeepers has been engaged in further evaluation and discussion with regulators to ensure that no bare counties or cities exist in Virginia.
As a result of the ongoing discussions, today HealthKeepers filed to revise its Individual health plan offerings for 2018 to include both on- and off-exchange Individual plans in 68 cities and counties in Virginia. Sixty-three of these cities and counties would otherwise not have access to Individual market health plans. This decision will positively impact up to 70,000 Virginians-many of whom would not have had access to important health care coverage.
HealthKeepers will remain focused on developments in the Individual marketplace and will continue to advocate for solutions that will stabilize the market and allow us to once again, offer Individual insurance coverage throughout the state of Virginia in the future.
Anthem’s Questions and Answers
What made HealthKeepers decide to expand its Individual offering?
By expanding in these cities and counties, we can help ensure that residents in all regions of the state have access to a health plan. Additionally, offering Individual health plans in these markets helps to reduce the number of uninsured members negatively impacting the rural healthcare providers.
Did the state ask you to come back in those counties after Optima announced it was withdrawing?
In our discussions with regulators it was clear these, mostly rural counties, would not have any insurers offering plans. To ensure that residents in all regions of the state have access to a health plan, we made the decision to offer plans in these counties. Additionally, offering Individual health plans in these markets helps to reduce the number of uninsured members negatively impacting the rural healthcare providers.
If you were able to expand to this area, why not expand to other parts of the state?
It’s important to note that every market is very unique but our goal is ensuring residents in all parts of the state have access to health plans. Without expanding in these counties, residents would be left without access to a health plan. However, these counties have demonstrated market stability and a balanced risk pool. As such, we’re confident in our ability to offer coverage options.
In how many counties does HealthKeepers currently offer individual health plans?
In 2017, we offered Individual on- and off-exchange health plans in 128 Virginia cities and counties.
In how many counties will HealthKeepers offer in individual health plans in 2018?
In 2018, we will offer on- and off-exchange health plans in 68 Virginia cities and counties.
Virginia Medical Plans is Watching Closely
We are following things very closely and will stay in touch with updates and information as they become available.
If you live in a Virginia county or city outside those listed in the chart above, and you currently have an individual/family health plan with Anthem, your plan will terminate on December 31, 2017. You will need to find new coverage effective January 1, 2018.
Open Enrollment runs from November 1, 2017 – December 15, 2017. Please plan to be in touch with us then, and be aware that we expect a very high volume of calls and emails. We thank you in advance for your patience.