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Last County Covered for 2018

Paulding County in Ohio, the last county left without health insurance coverage, has just been picked up by CareSource. CareSource will offer plans that are available through individual insurance policies compliant with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. CareSource has a long-standing history of interactions with Medicaid. Registration for 2018 coverage begins Nov. 1, 2017. In 2017, 334 people in Paulding County had Obamacare, and thanks to CareSource, they will have that option again in the upcoming year.

This has laid to rest the uncertainty that there will be counties left bare in 2018 after several large insurance carriers, such as Blue Cross Blue Shield, removed coverage options in over 40 counties across the country. These large corporations reported financial losses and expressed concern over the continued implementation of the ACA. They had difficulty appealing to younger, less expensive customers, and rural, underpopulated regions can make reimbursement rates difficult. No backup plan was officially in place to provide care for the bare areas.

President Trump and fellow Republicans have warned that the decreasing number of insurers offering exchange plans could force the ACA to implode, especially in counties with a low number of participants in Obamacare plans. CareSource and other companies offering care to the bare counties still have a month to change their minds. There is also uncertainty regarding the continuation of cost-sharing reduction payments, which help to subsidize the cost of health care premiums and out-of-pocket expenses for lower-income families.

News of continued ACA coverage in every county in America comes as a relief to many exchange customers. Beyond the individuals who will benefit directly from these plans, Cynthia Cox, an executive in a nonpartisan health-policy collaboration, believes that this shows the feasibility of Obamacare instead of its impending failure as feared.

CareSource CEO Pamela Morris has shared her company’s commitment to providing coverage for those who need it. The Ohio State Insurance division will be working with CareSource and other providers over the course of the next few weeks to confirm plans and premiums. There are four planned meetings to finalize details.

Coverage of these less populated counties also suggests that this is a viable market for companies like CareSource. CareSource, Centene, and other health care providers that offered coverage to the bare counties are showing a profit for the year, and they see a potential to profit in these neglected areas. They also may be eligible for government funding for cost-sharing benefits for lower-income families. Overall, the situation appears hopeful for the continuation of insurance coverage now that the last bare county has an insurance provider.

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