Anthem said Tuesday that it’s keeping the remaining of its Humana health insurer, the second major insurer to announce it’s pulling out of the nation’s largest health insurer.
Anthem said it will continue to operate its Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, but will no longer offer health coverage through Humana.
Anthem, based in Indianapolis, was the nation and the world’s largest insurer for three years, but announced last year that it would no longer be offering health coverage to its roughly 11 million members through Humane.
Humana has not yet announced its plans for the remaining Humana members, who had been eligible for coverage through Anthem’s new health exchange.
Anthem had previously announced plans to sell its remaining health coverage on a non-profit exchange.
The decision was the latest setback for Anthem as it struggles to compete with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Tennessee, which announced last month it was pulling out.
Anthem’s decision to leave Humana is also likely to hurt other insurers, including Aetna Inc., which is exiting its own insurer.
In a statement, Aetnam said it was “deeply disappointed” in Anthem’s announcement and was “evaluating all options” to retain the remaining Anthem BlueCross BlueShield members.
Aetn, based on the same Connecticut River site where Anthem once had its headquarters, announced in December it was ending its association with Anthem.
The company said in a statement that it will now focus on a merger with another insurer.
AETN said it would be exploring strategic options.
Anthem was one of the few insurers to offer health plans through the newly created Obamacare exchanges, and it had attracted attention from some lawmakers who criticized the law’s insurance coverage provisions.
The law also requires insurers to provide coverage for at least 10 essential health benefits and to cover certain pre-existing conditions.
Anthem has a $1.3 billion debt of $5.4 billion and said in November it would lay off about 1,000 people in the coming months.
Anthem last year said it had secured a $5 billion commitment from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help it pay for its remaining $3.9 billion bailout of Humana’s insurers.
Anthem did not say what would happen to Humana if Anthem leaves.
Anthem is a unit of UnitedHealth Group Inc., a unit the company formed after merging with Cigna Corp. in 2006.
The three companies have also agreed to buy Humana in a deal that was completed earlier this year.