Aetna to exit Delaware and Nebraska individual insurance markets

Aetna spokesman T. J. Crawford stated, "Our individual commercial products lost almost $700 million between 2014 and 2016, and are projected to lose more than $200 million in 2017 despite a significant reduction in membership".

Aetna lost $450 million previous year on its almost 1 million customers with individual health policies on and off the insurance exchanges. Insurance experts expect holes to develop in 2018.

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

Insurers are now also concerned about the uncertain future of the Affordable Care Act, as Republicans in Congress hash out a plan to replace the law. 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. In 2016 the insurer sold plans across fifteen states.

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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.

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. He says, "It is essential that they speed this process up because insurance companies, if they all re-enter the Marketplace - well a lot of them went out of business- but if a number re-enter the Marketplace they have to have time to prepare for 2018".

The government-backed marketplaces are a pillar of the Obama-era federal law because they allow millions of people to buy health insurance with help from income-based tax credits.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price seized on the insurer's decision Wednesday night as the latest ammunition to bash Obamacare, as the ACA also is known. It was the first major insurance provider to opt out of Obamacare under President Donald Trump. Aetna withdrew from 11 of its 15 markets for 2017. It had already dropped Iowa and Virginia for next year. Medica has pulled back as well, saying it may exit the program in Iowa, leaving much of the state without insurance options under Obamacare.

  • Alfonso Moody