Aetna to Pull Back From Many Obamacare Exchanges
Aetna, a member of Fortune 100, is a well- known health care company, that sells health care insurance plans. It has become one of those leading companies that have now announced to withdraw exchanging policies through the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare).ObamaCare (The Affordable Care Act) provides Americans with affordable health insurance. This comes as a big shock as Aetna was one of the major players that had around 1.1 million enrollees. Out of which around 838,000 had purchased their coverage from exchanges.
Aetna has announced to stop policies in 11 out of 15 states where it previously uses to operate. Aetna has taken this step due to loss it had incurred. The company claims to a loss $430 million in the individual policy. Now the company will only sell the products of Obama Care in 4 states namely Iowa, Nebraska, Virginia, and Delaware.
Mark Bertolini, CEO of Aetna said, “Providing affordable, high-quality health care options to consumers is not possible without a balanced risk pool.”
Due to this major step was taken by Aetna, Pinal in Arizona will be at the danger of having no insurer to offer plans in 2017.
A spokesman for Arizona’s state insurance regulator, Stephen Briggs, said: “The state currently has no insurers that have filed to offer exchange plans in Pinal”. He also said that they are trying their best to convince another insurer to provide policy. The federal Department of Health and Human Services said, “We are working collaboratively with the Arizona Department of Insurance and remain confident that all Arizona residents will have access to coverage next year.”
Aetna also announced that it will sell the exchange plans to only 242 counties next year. It is important to note that currently, it sells plans to 778 counties.
Aetna is not the only company who has incurred a loss. There are a number of other companies too that are sailing in the same boat.UnitedHealthcare (UNH), Humana (HUM) are some of them.
Larry Levitt, Kaiser Family Foundation’s senior vice president, remarked: “It seems increasingly clear that big, national insurers are having trouble competing in theObamacare marketplaces and making money.” He further said,”Some insurers are still doing well, particularly those that historically served Medicaid beneficiaries.”
However, supporting ObamaCare, Kevin Counihan, an official of Department of Health and Human Services who oversees the federal marketplace, said Aetna’s decision “does not change the fundamental fact that the Health Insurance Marketplace will continue to bring quality coverage to millions of Americans next year and every year after that.”
But the fact is that not only the big insurers but also the co-op insurers are suffering big losses. To cover up their loss, insurers are demanding huge premium hikes. On an average, they are demanding premium hike of around 9%. Insurers including Aetna are also forcing the federal government to make changes in risk program that are designed to help insurers that cover high-cost patients.
According to Timothy Jost, a professor at Washington and the Lee University of Law, the biggest problem is in risk adjustment program. Jost said, “In think the market will stabilize, and perhaps Aetna and United will come back.” He further added that “But the market really needs support for another few years until it does, and since the majority in Congress is rooting for (ACA) to fail, it seems unlikely that the support will be forthcoming.”
Bertolini also made it clear that Aetna may return to the exchanges if proper changes and improvement are made. He said, “ We remain hopeful that we can work with policy makers from both parties on a sustainable public exchange model that meets the need of uninsured.” He further added that The company may expand our footprint in future should there be meaningful exchange related policy improvements.”
However, there are still many insurers that are positive about ObamaCare. They are happy the way their ObamaCare business is growing and are hopeful to expand it more.
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