Obamacare gets dealt another blow as Aetna, one of the five largest health insurance companies in the US, has announced they will pull out of all 2018 healthcare exchanges.
This year they remained in only 4 of the 15 marketplaces once held and concerns have grown surrounding their commitment to offering ACA subsidized policies when it was declared they lost $700 million between 2014 and 2016. Since the start of this year, Aetna reports a loss of over $200 million.
The 255,000 current Aetna enrollees will need to find new policies when the exchange opens this fall.
Unfortunately, states such as Delaware and Nebraska are left with only one insurer offering exchange policies now that Aetna is exiting. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield remains in Delaware and Medica remains in Nebraska.
Aetna joins Humana, whose exodus highlighted the plight of insurance companies who failed to attract “healthy” consumers in the current ACA market. Insurance companies report huge losses as less healthy individuals benefiting from the popular preexisting condition protections awarded under the ACA utilize more funds than what they put in. Individuals without medical issues weigh the option of waiting to purchase a policy until they “need to” vs. paying for a high priced policy today. Neither choice is providing the financial relief needed to support the costs of sicker policyholders.
The House of Representatives approved an amended American Health Care Act, a first step to the “repeal and replacement” of Obamacare. The bill now goes to the Senate where changes are expected one the Congressional Budget Office submits their analysis and Senators debate Obamacare’s future.
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Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician