As of now, every county in the United States now has at least one health insurer lined up to offer coverage on its Affordable Care Act exchange next year.
CareSource, a nonprofit health insurer, announced Thursday morning that it would offer Obamacare coverage in Ohio’s Paulding County, the last remaining market that lacked a carrier for the 2018 open enrollment season. CareSource has previously said it would step in to provide insurance options for 20 other counties within Ohio that were at risk of being left bare.
At various points this year, more than 90 counties across the country have faced a serious chance of ending up stranded without any insurers offering marketplace coverage for 2018. While those communities represented a relatively a small number of enrollees—there are more than 3,000 counties in the United States—their problems were a potent political symbol and have often been cited by Republicans as evidence that Obamacare was either facing an imminent crisis or failing outright.
It is still technically possible that insurers will decide to pull out of some markets before late September, when they must sign contracts with the federal government to offer coverage on the exchanges. Many will almost certainly run for the exits if President Trump follows through on his threat to cut off important subsidies to insurance companies, known as cost-sharing reduction payments, that have been challenged in court (which is why it’d be nice if that bipartisan stabilization bill a few senators are working on actually comes to fruition). Moreover, it’s still unclear how sustainable the Obamacare markets are long term in the small, rural counties that have had the most trouble securing insurers.
But for now, Obamacare’s most immediate problem seems to have been solved. Take victories where you can, I guess.