Aetna Drops Last 2 State Markets Under Affordable Care Act

Posted May 12, 2017

Aetna's Individual Commercial products lost approximately $700 million between 2014 and 2016, and could lose another $200 million this year, the insurer estimated.

Aetna lost $450 million past year on its almost 1 million customers with individual health policies on and off the insurance exchanges.

Some insurers have stayed in, but raised premiums by double-digit percentages.

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But even if the Republicans' bill - known as the American Health Care Act - is passed by the Senate it would not solve a critical outstanding issue for insurers looking at 2018: Will the government continue to fund the cost-sharing subsidies that help individuals pay for care?

And even that one company, Medica Health of Minnetonka, Minnesota, isn't sure it will sell those health plans in 2018.

When insurers leave, prices rise.

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Aetna, which once offered coverage in 15 states through the exchanges, has suffered hundreds of millions of dollars in losses.

But insurers have discovered that their ACA health plans tend to attract too few of the young and healthy customers needed to offset the expense of covering older people with medical problems. Similarly, in Delaware, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield will be the last remaining insurer in the state.

The corporation had discontinued its participation in Obamacare exchanges in 11 other states in 2017, according to the CNNMoney article. Such policies do allow people to meet the ACA's individual mandate for health insurance, but they are not eligible for tax credits. For example, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee recently said it would serve those abandoned 16 Tennessee counties, but health policy experts do not expect it to happen very often because it is so expensive to launch coverage into new markets, especially at a time when the federal rules are in flux.

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Iowa is the only state at possible risk of having no exchange plans offered in 2018, Perlman said. Meanwhile health insurers in Maryland, Virginia and CT who are remaining part of Obamacare have asked for sharp increases in rates for next year. Coverage will last through the end of 2017. No mention was made of concerns over the future of ObamaCare, which had been cited a week ago when Aetna announced that it was leaving exchanges in Virginia and Iowa.