Health Care

Insurers Restore Health Coverage to 19 Ohio Counties

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COLUMBUS, Ohio —  The Ohio Department of Insurance Monday joined five health care insurers to announce that insurance options have been restored on the federal exchange in 19 counties.

Buckeye Health Plan, CareSource, Medical Mutual of Ohio, Molina Health Care of Ohio and Paramount Health Care are helping ensure coverage is available in these counties on the exchange in 2018. The announcement earlier this year that Anthem was withdrawing from 20 counties would have left residents in those counties without access to health insurance. The department is working to restore coverage to the 20th county before insurers must enter contracts with the federal government in late September.

“Knowing 20 counties might not have access to health insurance on the exchange in 2018, our team went to work with the companies to find a way through the challenge, and together we have identified a solution,” said Jillian Froment, director of the Ohio Department of Insurance. “Ohio has long had a strong insurance system and once again our insurers stepped up at an important time for thousands of Ohioans, taking unprecedented action to provide access to health insurance for Ohioans who otherwise were without options.”

The 19 counties are: Coshocton, Crawford, Guernsey, Hancock, Harrison, Hocking, Holmes, Jackson, Knox, Lawrence, Logan, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Van Wert, Vinton, Williams and Wyandot. Approximately 11,000 Ohioans purchase coverage through the health care exchange in those counties.

In light of this announcement, insurers are still in the process of finalizing filings at the Department of Insurance, including the types of plans that will be sold in these areas and the rates that will be charged. The department’s review must be completed later this summer and insurers must sign contracts with the federal government by late September to sell coverage on the federal exchange.

The department continues to look at coverage options in Paulding County where no insurer is presently planning to sell an exchange product in 2018.

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-13, issued a statement applauding the Ohio Department of Insurance.

“I was deeply disappointed when I learned of Anthem’s decision to withdrawal from Ohio’s health insurance marketplace, leaving thousands of Ohioans with no insurance options,” he said. :”This shows what we can achieve when our government institutions take initiative to ensure our national healthcare system works for all Americans,” said Congressman Ryan.

Consumers with questions can contact the Ohio Department of Insurance at 1 800 686 1526.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.