ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Health insurance company Anthem plans to stop offering individual plans next year in 17 Missouri counties, including the city of St. Louis and St. Louis County.
The Indianapolis-based Blue Cross-Blue Shield insurer said Friday that the individual health insurance market remains volatile and that pricing individual plans that comply with the federal Affordable Care Act is difficult.
The company also cited uncertainty about the federal regulation of health care and the future of subsidies for consumers who buy their coverage through the federal or state online exchanges. President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress want to repeal the 2010 federal law championed by former President Barack Obama, a Democrat, but the effort so far has stalled.
But Anthem said it will continue offering individual health plans for 68 Missouri counties both on and off the federal online marketplace. The company said such coverage would not otherwise be available in those counties.
"We chose to participate in 68 Missouri counties to ensure residents in those counties would have access to Affordable Care Act health plans," Anthem spokesman Scott Golden said in an email.
Even with Anthem's decision to scale back, every Missouri county has at least one company offering individual plans, and most offer a variety of them, the state insurance department said.
"This has been an extremely challenging year for the health insurance market in our state and across the country," director Chlora Lindley-Myers said in a statement. "We remain committed to building a strong and competitive insurance market."
Anthem previously announced that it would stop selling individual plans in Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin and its home state of Indiana.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that St. Louis-area residents seeking insurance through the exchange will only be able to obtain it from Cigna.
Anthem also plans to stop selling individual plans for residents of Columbia, Joplin and Springfield.