The Wall Street Journal reports that the last major Obamacare insurer has announced that, like the others, it will lose money in the Obamacare exchanges this year.
Aetna Inc. became the last of the five major national health insurers to project a loss on Affordable Care Act plans for 2016, and the company said it would re-evaluate its participation in the business and cancel a planned expansion.
Aetna, which had previously expressed relative optimism about the ACA’s exchanges, said it now expected a loss of more than $300 million for the year on its ACA plans amid mounting medical costs. The move, coming after a similar shift in tone last week by Anthem Inc., is the latest sign of instability and financial pressures in the marketplaces that are at the heart of the health law.
Aetna Chief Executive Mark T. Bertolini said the insurer planned to completely reconsider its current 15-state exchange footprint and “either fix the business or exit the business” for next year. In an interview, he said, “we will look at the financial performance of the business over time, its trajectory and volatility,” and the review will be market-by-market. Aetna’s options in each county would include sharply limiting the plans it offers there, completely exiting, or remaining fully engaged, he said. Aetna will need to begin making initial decisions by next week because of regulatory deadlines, he said.
Aetna had earlier made regulatory filings indicating it was considering growing into five new state exchanges in 2017, plans it will now scrap. The insurer currently has about 1.1 million individual ACA plan enrollees, roughly 838,000 of whom purchased their coverage on one of the health law’s exchanges.
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