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Actually, Obamacare will be available everywhere in 2018

Posted August 24

Insurers in the Buckeye State have agreed to sell Obamacare policies in 19 of the 20 counties that had no options for 2018, the state Department of Insurance said Monday, July 31, 2017.

And then there were none.

Obamacare policies will be available in all U.S. counties next year, now that an insurer has agreed to provide coverage in a small rural part of Ohio.

CareSource will sell policies in Paulding County in 2018, the state Insurance Department announced Thursday. The county has about 350 people on the Obamacare exchange this year.

At one point, about 92,000 people in more than 80 counties across the nation were at risk of having no insurers for 2018 after several carriers, particularly Anthem, bailed on the health reform law, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. But other carriers, notably Centene and CareSource, have stepped in to provide coverage.

This could still change, however. Insurers have until September 20 to sign contracts for 2018.

Related: Trump to pay key Obamacare subsidy in August

Also, many Obamacare enrollees will find they have fewer choices for next year.

Nationwide, about 46%of counties will have only one insurer participating in 2018, according to a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation analysis. That represents close to 25% of the population since many of the counties are rural and have relatively few residents.

This year, about one-third of counties and 20% of residents have only one insurer on their exchanges.

Kaiser looked at insurer participation in 20 major cities and Washington D.C. in August. It found an average of 4.6 insurers have said they intend to participate next year, compared to 5.1 this year and 6.7 in 2015.

Insurers are split over whether to remain involved in Obamacare. Larger, publicly traded insurers, including Anthem and Aetna, are abandoning the exchanges, citing mainly the continued uncertainty over the law's future with Republicans in charge of the White House and Congress. President Trump, who had repeatedly said Obamacare is dying, is urging senators to restart their attempt to repeal and replace the law. Other carriers are expanding their footprint.

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