Analysts say the health insurance giant Anthem may exit the Affordable Care Act exchanges in 2018, Bloomberg reported.
According to Jefferies Group analysts David Windley and David Styblo, Anthem is "leaning toward" exiting many of the 144 regions where it participates.
Joseph Swedish, the company's CEO, recently wrote to lawmakers saying that the company would leave in 2018 unless significant changes were made to the marketplaces.
"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."
Swedish said at the time he supported the proposed Republican health care reform bill because it addressed challenges with Obamacare and offered more choices for consumers.
About one-third of counties only have one insurer participating on the exchanges. That number could grow if Anthem decides to pull out from Obamacare.
"If Anthem quits, consumers in parts of Colorado, Kentucky, Missouri, and Ohio would be at risk of having no Obamacare insurers for next year," Bloomberg said. "Humana's exit, similarly, will leave parts of Tennessee with no ACA insurance options, though state officials have said they're working to attract other insurers."