Aetna Inc., facing more than $300 million in losses from Affordable Care Act health plans this year, may exit Obamacare markets in some states as challenges to the health-care overhaul pile up.
While the health insurer has yet to leave any states in which it now sells Obamacare programs, Chief Executive Officer Mark Bertolini said Aetna is evaluating its participation by market and will start making decisions in coming weeks. The company, which covers 838,000 people through Obamacare, is halting a planned expansion of those offerings in new states for next year.
What you are seeing is the reality of trying to cover high risk individuals who have the advantage of timing their enrollment with virtually no ability for carriers to underwrite their risks or adjust mandated benefits. More competition is meaningless if you can’t charge sufficient premiums to cover costs let along make a reasonable profit.
Far from being a blow to Obamacare, what you are seeing is playing right into the hands of public option proponents. If the plans available in the Exchanges decline significantly, the push for a government option will gain momentum. However, that changes nothing. The same risks and costs remain, they will only be burried in the morass of government spending and taxes and premium subsidies. Government cannot deliver care or coverage more efficiently.