ACA exchanges grow thinner with Aetna leaving for 2018

Posted May 12, 2017

"UnitedHealthcare (UNH) pulled out of Virginia, and Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield said it would stop selling individual policies in Iowa in 2018". That came after Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini told the Department of Justice that unrealized savings from a proposed merger with rival Humana would force the insurer to pull out of the market. But insurers faced big losses in some markets, and they got less financial support from the government than they expected.

Many insurers, members of the Obama administration and ACA supporters portrayed jumps in premiums as one-time course corrections and predicted that both premiums and insurers' participation would level off. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee said this week that it would re-enter the Knoxville area, which looked like it might not have any carriers for 2018 after Humana announced it would leave.

Companies are in the middle of figuring out their prices and coverage plans for next year, and insurance experts expect some holes to develop in those marketplaces.

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There are now 11,854 Delawareans insured through Aetna's exchange plans.

Aetna projected around $225 million in losses from its exchange plan businesses this year following a loss of $700 million for 2014 through 2016.

He noted that only one health plan remains in both DE, where Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield sells Obamacare coverage, and Nebraska, where Medica still offers coverage but has warned it may exit the program.

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

U.S. medical insurer Aetna has made a decision to leave the Obamacare market and consequently will not take part in any exchanges after 2018, according to media reports.

Aetna, which once offered coverage in 15 states through the exchanges, has suffered hundreds of millions of dollars in losses. Such policies do allow people to meet the ACA's individual mandate for health insurance, but they are not eligible for tax credits.

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Customers won't know for several more months for sure what their options are 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".