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Anthem fills Virginia's bare ACA counties

Anthem. Photo: Darron Cummings / AP

Anthem said Friday it will offer Affordable Care Act exchange plans in the 63 Virginia counties and cities that were at risk of having no choices next year after a smaller regional insurer, Optima, scaled back its expansion.

The upshot: There are officially no more counties with zero ACA options for 2018 (again). But don't read this as a benevolent move by Anthem, which withdrew its ACA plans in Virginia just a month ago. Anthem has made its ACA strategy clear: It will play where it has a monopoly, and leave where there could be competition.