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Citing Costs, N.H. Insurer Drops Out of Federal Exchange Early This Year

One of the five insurance companies on the federal health exchange in New Hampshire is unexpectedly backing out early this year.

The CEO of Maine-based co-op Community Health Options says costs have simply gotten too high for them to continue. Community Health Options will continue to sell plans for about another week - and it will continue to insure those who have already purchased plans.

Under the Affordable Care Act, consumers can buy subsidized health insurance on the online federal marketplace. But those consumers tend to be the sickest, so they've got the highest healthcare costs. And CEO Kevin Lewis says that's pushing his company out of the individual market.

"So in order for us to manage within the reserves available to us, we need to curtail additional enrollment," says Lewis.

The company will continue to sell in the employer market. But that leaves four New Hampshire insurers in the individual federal marketplace after mid-December. Three of those companies are large, multi-state chains.

Editor's Note: This story has been clarified to explain that Community Health Options will continue to insure those customers it currently insures. 

Before joining NHPR in August 2014, Jack was a freelance writer and radio reporter. His work aired on NPR, BBC, Marketplace and 99% Invisible, and he wrote for the Christian Science Monitor and Northern Woodlands.
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