Aetna is currently in a legal battle over it’s attempted take over of Humana, which the U.S. Justice Department says would violate anti-trust laws. In the midst of that, they’ve also decided to cut ties with the Affordable Care Act in 68.9 percent of the counties where that health coverage is offered. It’s a big year for Aetna.
USA Today reports that Aetna had a significant second-quarter pre-tax loss of $200 million with its individual health care plans. That number, however, includes losses sustained from plans outside Obamacare exchanges, so it’s a somewhat murky excuse. They will continue to offer some plans in Delaware, Iowa, Nebraska and Virginia, but the majority of enrollees will have to find another option in January 2017. Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini said in a statement:
As a strong supporter of public exchanges as a means to meet the needs of the uninsured, we regret having to make this decision... We will continue to evaluate our participation in individual public exchanges while gaining additional insight from the counties where we will maintain our presence, and may expand our footprint in the future should there be meaningful exchange-related policy improvements.
The company essentially blames the exchange participants for being sicker than they expected. They want healthy members who won’t actually need the insurance they’re buying. A competitor of Aetna, UnitedHealth Group, has also withdrawn. They are the nation’s largest insurer.
The CEO of the government’s Marketplace exchanges, Kevin Counihan, addressed Aetna’s decision by saying that they’ll continue to bring coverage to Americans in need of healthcare and that insurance companies better adjust, adding, “It’s no surprise that companies are adapting at different rates to a market where they compete for business on cost and quality rather than by denying coverage to people with preexisting conditions.”