facebook
twitter
search
search

Anthem Blue Cross will not join small business healthcare pool

July 20, 2013 at 10:55 AM

SACRAMENTO, July 20 (UPI) -- California's largest health insurer for small companies, Anthem Blue Cross, said it will not participate in the state's Covered California exchange.

California has dropped a requirement that health insurance companies participating in the individual insurance exchange also submit a bid for the small-business health options program, which is known as SHOP, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.

Anthem, a division of WellPoint Inc., chose to drop out of the government-run exchange for small businesses that is to open Jan. 1, company spokesman Darrel Ng said.

"Because Anthem is no longer required to participate in SHOP as a condition of being on the individual exchange, Anthem has withdrawn its SHOP application," Ng said. "Anthem will continue to participate in the individual exchange."

"That's really surprising and not a good thing for the exchange," said Micah Weinberg, a senior policy adviser at the Bay Area Council, a firm that advises employers. "Anthem is a very major player in the small-group market and you want a broad range of insurers, particularly the most compelling brand names."

Anthem was the leader in the small business health insurance market in 2011 with a 31 percent market share, the Times said. Kaiser Permanente had a 28 percent market share in 2011, followed by Blue Shield of California, which had an 18 percent share.

Related UPI Stories
Latest Headlines
Trending Stories
N.H. primary polls open: Kasich, Sanders get early leads
5 Reasons why Denver Broncos won't be repeat champions
U.N. report: Syria's Assad guilty of 'inhuman' crimes, gruesome torture, deaths
On heels of E. coli outbreaks, Chipotle spending millions for new ingredient safeguards
Hugh Jackman shows photo of his latest skin cancer treatment