KANSAS CITY, Mo.--Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City announced Wednesday it will not offer individual plans through the Affordable Care Act in 2018, according to a press release from the company.
This will affect the 32-county service area in Missouri and Kansas.
This decision will affect Blue KC members with both on- and off- exchange individual plans but does not affect individual plans that were purchased on or prior to October 1, 2013, the press release stated.
“Since 2014, we’ve expended significant resources to offer individual ACA plans to increase access to quality healthcare coverage for the Kansas City community,” said Danette Wilson, President and CEO of Blue KC. “Like many other health insurers across the country, we have been faced with challenges in this market. Through 2016, we have lost more than $100 million. This is unsustainable for our company. We have a responsibility to our members and the greater community to remain stable and secure, and the uncertain direction of this market is a barrier to our continued participation.”
Out of the one million members, this exit will impact 67,000 does not affect Blue KC members who are covered under one of its “grandfathered” or “grandmothered” plans. Members who receive coverage through their employers, as well as those who purchased a Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement, short-term or student health plan from Blue KC, are not affected, according to a press release.
According to Vox Senior Policy Correspondent Sarah Kliff, the move will leave 25 counties of western Missouri without any insurers left on the Affordable Care Act.
“This decision is necessary at this time, but we’ll continue to work with federal and state legislators to identify solutions that will stabilize the individual market and bring costs down for our members, the community and Blue KC,” said Wilson.
U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) released a statement to KOLR10 News,
Obamacare is collapsing and Missouri families are paying the price,” Blunt said. “We now have tens of thousands of Missourians in the Kansas City area that have lost their plans and have no insurer option on the Obamacare exchanges next year. It is another devastating blow to families that are already struggling with higher costs and less access to quality health care under the law.”
This year, 97 out of Missouri’s 114 counties and the City of St. Louis have only one insurer offering plans on the exchanges. Earlier this year, Humana announced that it is also withdrawing from the exchanges. As things stand today, that leaves 25 counties with no insurer option and 77 counties with only one insurer option next year. If any additional companies announce that they are leaving the exchanges, families in those 77 counties would also be at risk of having no insurer option next year.
Blunt continued, “Missourians were repeatedly promised that, under Obamacare, they would be able to keep the plans and doctors they liked and could afford. That is not true. The status quo is unacceptable, and it is unsustainable. That is why I will continue working to advance solutions that will provide more options, better access, greater stability, and lower costs for Missouri families.
For more information, call 1-888-737-7086. Affected Blue KC members will be notified via mail by Blue KC by July 1, 2017.
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