The health insurer is in talks with officials in some states ahead of deadlines later this month to decide whether to sell coverage in 2018, says CEO Joseph Swedish

Anthem Inc.  may pull back from more state Obamacare markets even as U.S. lawmakers debate steps to shore up the health law.

 The health insurer is in talks with officials in some states ahead of deadlines later this month to decide whether to sell coverage in 2018, chief executive officer Joseph Swedish noted on Tuesday. The company has announced partial or full withdrawals from nine of the 14 states where it offered Obamacare plans this year.

“There are still some remaining states that we are in negotiation with, both the regulators as well as the legislative arena, to position ourselves appropriately,” Swedish told investors at the Morgan Stanley Global Healthcare Conference in New York. “There are due dates that are still in play with respect to being able to make an announcement, so we’re going to reserve any further statement about whether we’re in our out of various states until those due dates pass.”

 The insurer is considering its plans for next year as senators weigh making changes to the Affordable Care Act, with some seeking small fixes to the law while others push for more far-reaching alterations. Efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare failed over the summer.
Anthem had about 1.5 million customers in Obamacare-compliant health plans as of June 30, including about 1 million who signed up through the health law’s exchanges.

Swedish didn’t say specifically which states Anthem might retreat from.