CareSource steps in to offer insurance options for 8 Ohio counties

CareSource is one of five companies stepping in to make possible health insurance options on federal exchanges for certain Ohio counties that were in danger of having no choices next year, the Ohio Department of Insurance said Monday.

The Dayton company will be listed on the federal exchange in 8 of 19 Ohio counties following the withdrawal of other insurers earlier this year, department Director Jillian Froment said.

Besides CareSource, the companies are: Buckeye Health Plan, Medical Mutual of Ohio, Molina Health Care of Ohio and Paramount Health Care.

CareSource will cover those looking for insurance in Guernsey, Jackson, Lawrence, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, and Vinton counties, the state said.

“At CareSource, we are proud to be a part of this collaboration to maintain health care options for thousands of working Ohioans. Our commitment to the marketplace has been unchanged from the very beginning. As a result of our 28-year history of serving under-served populations, we see firsthand the value affordable health care coverage offers to families in Ohio,” Pamela Morris, CareSource president and chief executive, said.

Froment, in the statement, said, “Knowing 20 counties might not have access to health insurance on the exchange in 2018, our team went to work with the companies to find a way through the challenge, and together we have identified a solution.”

Some 11,000 Ohioans purchase coverage through the health care exchange in those counties, the state said. Exchanges are set up primarily for people who don’t get health coverage through their employer, Medicare or Medicaid. They originally were meant to offer an array of competing insurance plans for sale at different price points, but as insurers sometimes pull out, residents in some areas sometimes have only one insurer choice.

The state said insurers are still in the process of submitting filings at the Department of Insurance, including the types of plans that will be sold in these areas and the rates that will be charged. The department’s review must be completed later this summer and insurers must sign contracts with the federal government by late September to sell coverage on the federal exchange.

The department is still trying to find options in Paulding County where no insurer is presently planning to sell an exchange product in 2018.

The 19 affected counties are: Coshocton, Crawford, Guernsey, Hancock, Harrison, Hocking, Holmes, Jackson, Knox, Lawrence, Logan, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Van Wert, Vinton, Williams and Wyandot.

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