Published: Fri, May 12, 2017
National | By Mildred Castro

Aetna fully exits Obamacare exchanges with pull-out in two states

Aetna fully exits Obamacare exchanges with pull-out in two states

The Washington Post's report says that the company's 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 can not get affordable health benefits through their employers". It said last month that it plans to return next year, but that could change if it doesn't know for certain by early June that the government will fund customer cost-sharing subsidies next year.

Sen. Thomas R. Carper, a Democrat, faulted President Donald Trump for DE being left with only one insurer, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield.

The Hartford insurer said it will not offer on- or off-exchange individual plans in DE or Nebraska in 2018.

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Spokesman T.J. Crawford said "uncertainty that has surrounded the future of the exchanges for some time now... plays a significant role as well".

Aetna isn't part of a mass exodus of companies from exchanges as the repeal bill works its way through Congress, said John F. O'Connell, president of C.M. Smith Agency in Hartford and a partner in Alera Group, a nationwide brokerage. Meanwhile health insurers in Maryland, Virginia and CT who are remaining part of Obamacare have asked for sharp increases in rates for next year.

Crawford said Aetna's individual commercial products lost almost $700 million between 2014 and 2016, adding that they're projected to lose more than $200 million in 2017 despite a significant reduction in membership.

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Another blow to ObamaCare as another major insurer drops out of the marketplace.

Several insurers remaining in Obamacare are requesting big rate hikes for next year. Another insurer, Medica, said earlier this month that its "ability to stay in the Iowa insurance market in any capacity is in question at this point". UnitedHealthcare pulled out of Virginia, and Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield said it would stop selling individual policies in Iowa in 2018.

In Virginia, Cigna wants to raise rates by an average of 45%, while HealthKeepers, an affiliate of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, is looking for an 38% increase. But insurers like Humana, and now Aetna, have been fleeing that market, and the remaining coverage options are growing thin.

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