Aetna, one of the nation’s largest health insurers announced Wednesday it would completely withdraw from Obamacare marketplaces in 2018.
Nebraska, Delaware, Virginia, and Iowa are the only Obamacare exchanges where Aetna currently participates. A month ago Aetna announced plans to leave the Iowa market, followed by yet another announcement of a Virginia marketplace exit. With Aetna’s withdrawal, Delawareans and Nebraskans will be left with one insurer on the exchange.
“The company said it expects to lose more than $200 million in its individual business line this year, on top of nearly $700 million in losses between 2014 and 2016. Aetna withdrew from 11 of its 15 markets for 2017. It has 255,000 Obamacare policyholders this year, down from 964,000 at the end of last year,” according to CNN Money.
From the WaPo:
According to an Aetna spokesman, the insurer will not sell individual health plans next year in Delaware or Nebraska. Its announcement came a week after the company said it would stop offering ACA health plans in Virginia in 2018 and a month after it said it would leave Iowa.
The cascade of state-by-state decisions represents a stark turnabout for the nation’s third-largest insurer, which initially entered 15 states’ marketplaces but last summer decided to slash its 2017 participation to just four. That retreat was the largest by any health insurer from the health-care law’s marketplaces, which started in 2014 to provide coverage for people who cannot get affordable health benefits through their employers.
The writing was on the wall as early as last year when Aetna announced a large-scale pairing back of Obamacare market participation. Last summer I blogged:
The more than 800,000 Americans who purchase their insurance from one of Aetna’s exchange plans will be out of luck once this year is over. Health insurance giant Aetna announced late Monday evening that they would be scaling back their Obamacare exchange offerings to a paltry four states.
The reason? Losses amounting to more than $430 million.
“Following a thorough business review and in light of a second-quarter pretax loss of $200 million and total pretax losses of more than $430 million since January 2014 in our individual products, we have decided to reduce our individual public exchange presence in 2017, which will limit our financial exposure moving forward. More than 40 payers of various sizes have similarly chosen to stop selling plans in one or more rating areas in the individual public exchanges over the 2015 and 2016 plan years, collectively exiting hundreds of rating areas in more than 30 states. As a strong supporter of public exchanges as a means to meet the needs of the uninsured, we regret having to make this decision,” said Aetna in an official statement.
Like many other large insurers, Aetna claims they can no longer offer an affordable product.
Earlier this year, Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini said Obamacare was in a “death spiral.”
The tale is one that’s plagued every Obamacare exchange — not enough young, healthy consumers are purchasing insurance to offset the costs of insuring sicker individuals, making it impossible for insurers to offer affordable products.
Obamacare has effectively killed itself, but you’d never know that based on the vast majority of reports, all of which suggest the Republican alternative would put half the country in an early grave…an alternative no one has seen yet.
The House passed their version of Obamacare repeal by way of the American Healthcare Act (AHCA), only for the Senate to decide to scrap the bill in favor of writing their own.
Senate Republicans are being chastised for writing new legislation behind closed doors, but given the national hysterics over the House bill, can you blame them?
Obamacare was never meant to succeed. It was designed purely to drive the American health insurance marketplace into the ground, paving the way for a single-payer system. As soon as the ACA’s failure became too obvious for even Democrats to deny, they began claiming single-payer would solve America’s health insurance ills.
Obamacare’s failure is not the fault of the GOP. Its failure is a feature of the law, written and passed by Democrats, not a glitch.
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