Anthem expands Obamacare options in Virginia to fill holes

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Anthem Inc. reversed course and said it will offer Obamacare plans in Virginia, after a pullback by another insurer threatened to leave the state with large gaps in coverage.

Indianapolis-based Anthem revised its 2018 offerings, saying in a statement that it would now offer plans in 68 cities and counties in Virginia. Around the United States, insurers face deadlines at the end of this month to decide whether they will participate in the Obamacare markets and what plans they will offer.

Anthem had earlier said it would exit Virginia entirely next year, along with rivals Aetna Inc. and UnitedHealth Group Inc.

Most of the areas where Anthem will now sell coverage would have been left without access to any Obamacare plans after Optima Health Plan decided to pare its presence in the state last week. Optima had elected to leave 63 Virginia counties affecting 70,000 residents. Later, it decided to offer coverage in five counties that otherwise wouldn’t have had options.

Anthem has pulled back from Obamacare markets in nine states as uncertainty around the Affordable Care Act grows. The Trump administration has cut outreach funding and Republicans in Congress are still weighing efforts to repeal the law despite a separate effort within their own party to stabilize it.

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