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Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona partly leaves Obamacare

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona will no longer sell individual plans through the Affordable Care Act Health Insurance Marketplace, which is sometimes referred to as Obamacare, in two of Arizona’s counties.

Approximately 44,000 people are enrolled with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona in Pinal and Maricopa counties through the marketplace for 2016, according to the insurer.

Maricopa and Pinal county residents will no longer be able to purchase plans through the exchange from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, but residents in Arizona’s 13 other counties will still have options with the insurer.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona announced a plan Thursday that will offer up to five individual and family plans in Pima County and the state’s rural and underserved areas. The plan is pending regulatory approval and hospital participation.

“As a local company, we couldn’t overlook that several counties would have no options or very limited access if we didn’t find a way to stay in the market,” said Rich Boals, president and CEO at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona.

In the two years since the exchange opened, the insurer lost $185 million on individual Affordable Care Act plans, Boals said. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona will continue to operate  through the exchange in 13 of the state’s 15 counties.

The insurer believes it has found a mix of plans and benefits that will be sustainable through the Affordable Care Act at least for another year, Boals said.

Changes to the plan won’t have an impact on folks with group, medicare or federal coverage.

Going forward, Boals said in a statement, Blue Cross Blue Shield will continue to discuss long-term fixes on the Affordable Care Act with policy makers.

“Arizonans need an individual marketplace that is more stable and predictable from year to year,” he said.