Many in Valley may not have insurance options next year

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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — An article by the Washington Post says a lot about the outlook for healthcare in the United States, but one thing stands out.

Anthem pulls insurance plans for 2018

Virginia is set to be the only state in America with places that don't have an insurance provider left in the Obamacare Marketplace.

In particular, many of those places are right here in the Shenandoah Valley.

Augusta County, Shenandoah County, Page County, Staunton, and Waynesboro are all expected to have zero insurers in their county by next year.

This comes after Optima Health said last week it would no longer offer individual plans in certain parts of the state. The company slightly modified its plans Tuesday, leaving 44 counties and 14 cities still bare, according to State Corporation Commission spokesman Ken Schrad.

This past spring, Aetna announced it was pulling out of the marketplace. In August, Anthem followed suit. With Optima following those, The Roanoke Times reports 70,000 people in Virginia are left with no individual insurance options for 2018.

That means, if they want insurance, they will have to pay much more than someone in the marketplace.

Delegate Steve Landes, who has many constituents affected, says the most they can do right now is talk to the insurance companies.

"We're going to have to talk to Anthem, and Optima, and other providers that were in the marketplace and see why they got out, and see if they can get back in to provide some coverage for these individuals who aren't going to have coverage otherwise," said Delegate Steve Landes, who is the Delegate for the 25th House District.

Landes says right now, many delegates are writing a letter to Anthem to tell them they need to get back in the market.

Delegate Landes also says Anthem is a big insurance provider to the state, so they may look at options to leverage that to see if they can't get them back in.

Senator Mark Warner said on Twitter that legislators have "been working hard for weeks to find a fix so all Virginians have access to coverage."