County with no ObamaCare options gets an insurer after all

County with no ObamaCare options gets an insurer after all
© Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona

Arizona’s Pinal County will have an insurer offering ObamaCare coverage after all, as Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona announced Wednesday that it will step in to offer insurance there next year. 

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The move averts what would have been an unprecedented situation for a county in the United States: having no insurer offering ObamaCare coverage, depriving people there of the ability to sign up. 

The county had been left with no insurers after Aetna announced it was pulling back on its ObamaCare participation, citing financial losses, as other insurers have. 

Blue Cross noted Wednesday that it is still pushing for changes to address its losses. 

“Regulators and policy makers must find a way to stabilize the market and put long-term fixes in place. In the meantime, BCBSAZ is trying hard to balance the company’s financial losses from the ACA with the very real concerns of Arizonans,” Rich Boals, the company’s CEO, said in a statement. 

While there is now slated to be at least one ObamaCare insurer in every county next year, the number of choices has dropped in many areas, particularly rural ones. 

The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that 31 percent of counties will have just one ObamaCare insurer in 2017, up from 7 percent this year. 

Arizona Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainSteve Schmidt: 'Overwhelming chance that Trump will dump Pence' for Haley Lindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight Sanders proposes expanded Veterans Affairs services, B to rebuild infrastructure MORE (R) has put ObamaCare at the forefront of his reelection campaign this year. 

Earlier Wednesday, he introduced a bill to exempt people from ObamaCare’s financial penalty for lacking insurance in counties where there is only one insurer, or none at all. 

“While I am pleased to hear that the nearly 10,000 Arizonans in Pinal County, Arizona, currently enrolled in the Obamacare marketplace will have a health insurance option in 2017, this is a far cry from what President Obama promised before and after signing his signature health care reform bill into law,” McCain said in a statement, noting that most counties in the state will have just one insurer next year.