Centene ready to fill insurance gap in abandoned Missouri markets
Centene Corp. will sell individual health insurance exchange plans in 40 Missouri counties next year, including dozens of counties that were at risk of having no marketplace options in 2018.
The St. Louis-based insurer is one of a few health plans moving into markets that other insurers ditched because of financial losses and ongoing regulatory uncertainty over healthcare reform.
The CMS under the Trump administration has held up recent marketplace retreats by insurers Anthem and Aetna as a sign that Affordable Care Act marketplaces have failed. The agency last month projected 49 counties will have no exchange options next year.
If no marketplace health plan is available, consumers wouldn’t have access to the federal financial subsidies that reduce premiums and lower outof-pocket costs.
But those gaps in coverage are starting to be filled. Now 38 U.S. counties in Indiana, Ohio and Nevada are at risk of having no marketplace insurers, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, which tracks insurer participation. In those “bare” counties, 25,133 people are enrolled in exchange coverage.
Centene, which serves 1.2 million marketplace members, previously announced it would start offering coverage on exchanges in Kansas, Missouri and Nevada, while expanding its footprint in the six states where it currently sells plans. It’s still unclear which Nevada and Kansas counties Centene will enter.
Centene is one of a few insurers that have managed to turn a profit on the exchanges, thanks to its expe- rience managing the care of low-income Medicaid members and its narrow-network, low-premium plans.