Insurance customers in Kansas City will have an additional option on the Affordable Care Act marketplace starting in 2019.
Medica, an insurance company based in Minneapolis, announced Monday it will sell individual plans on the exchange to customers in Cass, Clay, Jackson and Platte counties in Missouri. It began selling insurance plans on the exchange last year to Kansas customers in Johnson and Wyandotte counties.
The insurer's coverage is mainly limited to providers in the Saint Luke's Health System.
ACA marketplaces have been plagued by volatility since they started in 2014, but Medica spokesperson Greg Bury says the company is committed to staying in the Kansas City market.
"When we go into a market, we go in for the long run," Bury said.
Medica's entrance will bring the total number of ACA insurers in Kansas City to three, joining Cigna and Centene.
Most Missouri counties outside of the Kansas City and St. Louis areas have only one insurer option on the ACA exchange. At one point, there was concern that Kansas City would fall into that category after Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City and Humana announced they would exit the Missouri health insurance marketplace in 2018.
Health economists say that consumers benefit from multiple insurers selling in markets because competition helps keep prices lower and induce insurers to improve their products.
Proposed rates for ACA plans in Missouri will be released by the state insurance department in August.
Alex Smith is a health reporter for KCUR. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org