dglobalnews.com Aetna to Obamacare: We're outta here
Published: Fri, May 12, 2017
National | By Glenda Ortiz

Aetna to Obamacare: We're outta here

Aetna to Obamacare: We're outta here

Early moves by insurers in some states suggest another round of higher prices and limited choices will greet health insurance shoppers in markets around the country when they start searching for next year's coverage on the Affordable Care Act's public insurance exchanges.

Earlier this year, Humana's decision to leave the exchanges temporarily left 16 Tennessee counties with no on-exchange coverage options for 2018. Aetna had previously announced it will not offer plans in Iowa and Virginia next year.

Aetna, based in Hartford, Connecticut, becomes the latest health insurer to pull out of the federal health law, also known as Obamacare, as Republicans attack the program as failing and work to dismantle it, Bloomberg reported.

And even that one company, Medica Health of Minnetonka, Minnesota, isn't sure it will sell those health plans in 2018. Three months ago, however, Aetna chief executive Mark Bertolini said the marketplaces were in a "death spiral" - an assertion at odds with recent analyses by the Congressional Budget Office.

"It's hard to say whether Aetna would have stayed in the market under different circumstances, but we are seeing a number of insurers expressing concern over the political and regulatory uncertainty they face next year", said Cynthia Cox, associate director at the Kaiser Family Foundation.

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Insurers Humana Inc HUM.N and UnitedHealth Group Inc UNH.N have also pulled out of most of the government subsidized individual health insurance market.

One big player on the exchanges, Centene Corp., has already said it expects to return to the exchanges next year.

The move leaves Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of DE, which has most of the individual market share in DE, as the only insurer providing coverage on the state's health insurance exchange. They also are the only remaining option on exchanges in almost a third of the nation's more than 3,100 counties. Coverage will last through the end of 2017. Almost 3 in 5 consumers on the exchanges qualify for this help, which totaled about $7 billion this year.

Customers are likely still several months away from knowing for certain final 2018 rates and participation.

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