Baptist Health Plan will no longer sell individual health plans in Kentucky; about 7,000 people will be affected

Baptist Health Plan is withdrawing from the individual health insurance market in Kentucky for 2017, according to a state Department of Insurance news release.

Baptist is the state’s fourth largest health-insurance provider and serves around 7,000 Kentuckians. It had planned to offer plans in 20 counties on the government exchange and 38 counties off the exchange.

The withdrawal means 59 of the state’s 120 counties will have only one health insurance option on the exchange, where tax subsidies are available to reduce premiums. Most Kentucky counties will have two options off the exchange.

The state news release said James S. Fritz, president of Baptist Health Plan, indicated in a letter to state Insurance Commissioner Brian Maynard that “Baptist enrolled more members in the individual market than anticipated in 2016, but “the federal risk assessments placed upon the organization under the Affordable Care Act is unsustainable by a corporation the size of Baptist Health Plan.”

The decision by Baptist comes just one month after Aetna announced that it will pull out of the state exchange in 2017, citing financial reasons. Its withdrawal will affect 10 counties in three major metropolitan areas.

Policyholders in Baptist plans can continue coverage through Dec. 31 if they are on the exchange and through March 31 if they are off the exchange. Baptist will notify them of its withdrawal.

Kentuckians signing up for health insurance through the exchange will enroll on this year, instead of Kynect, the state’s health insurance exchange. Open enrollment begins Nov. 1 and goes through Jan. 31.

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