President Trump threatened to let Obamacare implode if a replacement plan wasn’t passed. One of the many talking points to this issue was that he expected there to be a number of counties across the country with no health insurance carrier options to choose from.
At the beginning of the summer, 47 counties across the country were facing no carrier options. By the beginning of July, the number dropped to 40 counties, but Nevada, which did have three or more carriers across the state, was now facing the fact that all but 3 counties were considered bare after a number of carriers dropped out of the market. As of August 9th, there were 19 counties that had no coverage options. Most of these bare counties were still in Nevada, Indiana and Ohio.
KFF reported that as of August 21st, there is only one county in one state that has no coverage options, and that is Paulding County, Ohio. Nevada’s bare counties were covered by Centene, who has stepped up to cover 40 counties across the country that were going to be bare.
The state insurance commissions from states across the country have been working all summer to convince carriers to stay in the markets in their states and to offer coverage to the people who lived in bare counties. Those pleas worked for everyone but Paulding County, but the Ohio Insurance Director, Jillian Froment, is not giving up hope and is still trying to convince carriers covering neighboring counties to step up to cover the 334 people who currently have health coverage through the federal marketplace in Paulding County.
Carriers have until September 27th to sign contracts with the federal marketplace to sell plans on exchange and considering Ohio went from 20 bare counties after Anthem pulled out of the state to having five carriers participating in the market, the chances of Paulding County getting coverage is good.
CMS releases press reports regularly showing the issuer coverage by county map. The latest map released today, August 23rd, was updated to show the only one, remaining bare county in the U.S. – Paulding County, OH. Hopefully the insurance director for Ohio can find a carrier to cover the people of Paulding County before the next map is released that way we can go into September knowing confidently that everyone will have a coverage option this open enrollment period.