Insurer startup to enter five ObamaCare exchanges

Insurer startup to enter five ObamaCare exchanges
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An insurance startup is expanding its reach in five state ObamaCare exchanges amid uncertainty over the Affordable Care Act's future.

In a blog post, the insurance startup Oscar said it was working in the states because it sees a business opportunity despite turmoil surrounding former President Obama’s signature law, which Republicans are seeking to repeal.

“We’re confident that when the dust settles, the market for health insurance will stabilize in time for 2018,” the blog post states. “For all the political noise, there are simply too many lives at stake for representatives in Washington, D.C. not to do what’s right for the people.”

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Oscar announced it plans to expand or add coverage in areas of Ohio, Texas, Tennessee and California. It also plans to re-enter New Jersey and continue to sell plans in New York.

Wednesday is the deadline for insurers to preliminarily notify the federal government of their intent to sell plans on HealthCare.gov, the federal marketplace. Insurer participation and premiums aren’t final until the fall. 

But insurers are still pleading for certainty that they’ll continue to receive crucial payments from the federal government that compensates them for decreasing out-of-pocket costs for lower income enrollees.

The Trump administration made these cost-sharing reduction payments in June, but wouldn’t say how long it would continue to do so. This uncertainty has fueled insurer exits from the marketplaces.

The GOP is using the exits to press the case for repealing President Obama’s signature health law.

Oscar isn’t the only insurer to expand this year. Earlier this month, Centene announced it would move into three new states and expand its footprint in six markets.

However, about 44 counties are facing the possibility of having no insurer on their ObamaCare marketplaces, unless another carrier steps up to sell plans in that area, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.