The latest leading healthcare provider to stop offering plans on Obama’s healthcare.gov is Aetna after projecting a loss of $300 million. Next year, the health insurer will no longer be offering plans in the 11 of 15 states where Aetna had previously sold plans in the program.
Aetna announced in a statement Monday plans to exit the 11 states, including Florida, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. The company will remain in Delaware, Iowa, Nebraska and Virginia for the time being and will offer individual coverage outside of the exchange.
Not only was the healthcare.gov exchange a ridiculously expensive endeavor, costing roughly $2,142 million according to a report produced by Bloomberg Government (BGOV,) it has proven to be ineffective. Premiums have increase drastically and most of the major providers have been forced to exit the program due significant losses.
Aetna joins other providers including UnitedHealth Group, Blue Cross Blue Shield and Humana– all of which have had to pull out of markets in the exchange to stop the bleeding.
People covered by Aetna this year will have to look for new coverage in 2017 and the options on the healthcare.gov exchange are limited with many markets only offering one plan to choose from.
Even though this is sadly the case, Kevin Counihan, who oversees the ACA marketplaces stated that the Obamacare markets are still strong even with the exits from most healthcare providers.
“Aetna’s decision to alter its marketplace participation does not change the fundamental fact that the Health Insurance Marketplace will continue to bring quality coverage to millions of Americans next year,” said Counihan.
838,000 people were covered by Aetna in the 15 states as of June 30th, so this will be a massive hit to the healthcare exchange.
Less than month ago, the US Justice Department sued Aetna to stop the company’s purchase of Humana citing this would make the competition for private plans and ACA health plans unfair.
Aetna was quick to state that the decision to exit most Obamacare markets was not prompted by the suit.
“The vast majority of payers have experienced continued financial stress within their individual public exchange business,” said Mark Bertolini, Aetna Chief Executive Officer in a statement. “Providing affordable, high-quality health care options to consumers is not possible without a balanced risk pool. We’ve got to be able to cover the costs associated with providing the care.”
Editor’s note: This is not surprising, state co-ops are mostly shut down after only a few short years, insurance rates are soaring and insurance agencies are finding they can’t make money from the government subsidies.
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