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Blue Cross pulls out of Obamacare markets Kansas, Missouri

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City is pulling out of 32 counties in Kansas and Missouri next year because the insurer says it has lost more than $100 million on Obamacare.


The Washington Examiner Reports: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City is pulling out of 32 counties in Kansas and Missouri next year because the insurer says it has lost more than $100 million on Obamacare.

 The company is the latest to pull out of the individual insurance market for 2018, following major defections in Iowa and several other states. The decision is sure to become more political fodder for both parties as the Senate debates Obamacare repeal.

 The decision announced Tuesday would affect about 67,000 customers and plans sold on and off Obamacare's exchanges. It will not affect 2017 plans. 

 The insurer said the decision was made due to staggering financial losses and not due to uncertainty surrounding Obamacare or the law's insurer subsidies, which are in doubt for next year.

 "Like many other health insurers across the country, we have been faced with challenges in this market," said Danette Wilson, president and CEO of the company. "Through 2016, we have lost more than $100 million.

 This is unsustainable for our company." Several other insurers have decided to pull out next year. For instance, Aetna decided to withdraw from the individual market in Virginia, and Iowa may have no individual health plans next year after its insurers pulled out. 

 The individual market is used by people who don't get insurance through their employers and includes Obamacare's exchanges. Insurers are having trouble generating profits in Obamacare partly because of a sicker risk pool and other factors. 

 Republicans have latched on to the defections, and some double-digit price increases planned for 2018, as evidence that the law needs to be repealed. But Democrats are arguing that any defections or high premiums are due to uncertainty from the Trump administration.

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