Anthem's CEO wrote to lawmakers that the American Health Care Act, the Republican replacement to Obamacare, will address current challenges and expand choice for consumers.
Joseph Swedish, Anthem's president, said unless significant changes are made to the individual health care marketplace, Anthem will leave it in 2018. Swedish noted his company, which serves more than one million members in 14 states, has had difficulty remaining on the Obamacare exchanges.
"While we have performed better than many of our competitors, it is increasingly difficult to remain in the exchange market under its current structure," Swedish said. "As I have said publicly, without significant regulatory and statutory changes to the individual market, we will begin to ‘surgically extract' Anthem from that market beginning in 2018."
"The American Health Care Act addresses the challenges immediately facing the individual market and will ensure more affordable health plan choices for consumers in the short term, including through the expanded use of health savings accounts," he said.
Swedish singled out four "critically important" provisions of the Republican replacement. Those provisions are the repeal of Obamacare's health insurance tax, the use of tax credits for off-exchange health plans, the establishment of the patient and state stability fund, and the continuation of cost-sharing reduction subsidies. He said the market would deteriorate without these and other reforms.
Swedish also stated his support for a continuation of Medicaid benefits, especially for the elderly, children, families, and individuals with disabilities.
"We are confident that working together we can find both legislative and regulatory solutions to create a sustainable path forward for our entire health care system for all Americans," Swedish said.
Swedish said the company in July 2016 projected losses on Obamacare plans due to higher costs.