Approximately 7,000 Kentuckians will have to find a new insurance provider
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 3, 2016) – Baptist Health Plan, Kentucky’s fourth largest health insurance provider, has informed the Kentucky Department of Insurance (DOI) that it will withdraw entirely from the individual health insurance market for the 2017 plan year. Approximately 7,000 Kentuckians will have to find a new insurance provider.
In a letter to Insurance Commissioner Brian Maynard, Baptist Health Plan president James S. Fritz indicated that Baptist enrolled more members in the individual market than anticipated in 2016, but “the federal risk assessments placed upon the organization under the Affordable Care Act is unsustainable by a corporation the size of Baptist Health Plan.”
The Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, has created tremendous stress and instability in Kentucky and across the nation in the individual insurance market. Baptist Health Plan is the latest in a string of insurers exiting this market due to the growth of burdensome regulations and the financial death spiral created by Obamacare, which has caused insurance companies to lose hundreds of millions of dollars under extremely volatile markets with high risk.
Prior to the withdrawal, Baptist Health Plan had products available in 20 counties on the insurance exchange and 38 counties off the insurance exchange for the 2017 plan year. On the exchange, Kentucky will now have 59 counties with only one health insurance option in 2017. Off the exchange, most Kentucky counties will have only 2 options. The diminishing competition in Kentucky’s markets further highlights the failure of Obamacare to make insurance more affordable and accessible.
Members impacted by the discontinuation will be allowed to continue coverage with Baptist through December 31, 2016 (on exchange) and March 31, 2017 (off exchange). Baptist will provide notice of its withdrawal to all members The notice will include information on the upcoming open enrollment period which begins November 1.
The decision by Baptist Health comes just one month after Aetna announced that it will pull out of the state exchange in 2017 for financial reasons.