Major Health Insurance Companies Leave Obamacare Exchanges
Aetna, United Health, Blue Cross Take a Pass in Some States
With the Obamacare insurance exchanges set to open for business in only two months, major insurance companies are saying no.
The companies’ refusal to participate in the exchanges is only the latest development in a long string of setbacks that make implementation of Obamacare on schedule almost impossible.
Obamacare missed the deadline to assure the security of personal information submitted in applications to exchanges. Premiums will skyrocket for millions of health insurance customers. Doctors are leaving Medicare because of reimbursement cuts and increased government interference.
Now we learn that major insurance companies, including Aetna, United Health, and Blue Cross, are opting out of participation in some state insurance exchanges. Withdrawal of participation is expected to accelerate as the Obamacare deadlines approach.
After withdrawing from the insurance exchanges in Connecticut, Maryland, and Georgia, Aetna issued a statement saying that it would not participate in exchanges where it could not be competitive, according to a report in CNS News.
“This is not a step taken lightly, and was made as part of a national review of our exchange strategy,” Aetna said. “Unfortunately, we believe the modifications to the rates filed by Aetna will not allow us to collect enough premiums to cover the cost of the plans and meet the service expectations of our customers.”
Aetna’s withdrawal from the exchange in Connecticut, its home state, was particularly noteworthy. A Fortune 100 company, Aetna was founded in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1850. Aetna is the nation’s third-largest insurer.
Aetna also will not participate in the insurance exchange in California, though it never intended to do so and did not file a rate proposal.
In addition, Aetna will stop selling all individual insurance policies in California. Nearly 50,000 existing policyholders in the state will need to find new coverage before January.
Two other companies will not participate in Obamacare in California. Anthem Blue Cross has withdrawn from participation in the state’s small business exchange. United Health, the nation’s largest health insurer, has withdrawn from California’s exchange for individuals and families.
The Obamacare insurance exchanges, operated by the federal government and some states, were established to provide a wide range of policy choices and competition among insurers. Without participation by major insurance companies, choices for millions of customers will be denied.
During the course of his career, Walker has worked in Chicago, Washington DC, New York City, and Phoenix. He served as a reporter in Chicago, a press secretary and speechwriter in Washington, and in numerous positions in New York in corporate and financial services communications.
Walker is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.