Aetna leaving Affordable Care Act market in Nebraska

Friday, 12 May, 2017

Aetna will also cease to sell individual plans in Nebraska and Delaware, Bloomberg reports.

Later in their write-up, CNNMoney pointed out that "Humana (HUM) already announced it is completely abandoning the individual market in 2018". And regulators in Virginia and Maryland have reported early price hike requests ranging from just under 10 percent to more than 50 percent.

Get it? It's not because the future is uncertain due to President Trump, as Democrats want to claim.

Aetna's withdrawal is the latest in a series of insurers leaving Obamacare. "While we continue to believe that a combined company would create greater value for healthcare consumers through improved affordability and quality, the current environment makes it too challenging to continue pursuing the transaction", Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini said in a press release at the time.

About 12 million people bought coverage through the exchanges for this year.

Insurers are generally citing two reasons for the exits or rate hikes. They've been raising prices and pulling out of some markets altogether in response.

Some of the instability has been going on for years, as fewer people than expected have signed up for plans and many have been sicker than insurers anticipated. Those are separate from the tax credits that help pay premiums.

The first issue relates directly to what conservatives have been trying to address in health care reform. But rural areas may not be attractive to insurers looking to cut losses.

With uncertainties abound regarding the ACA and the stability of its exchanges, Aetna isn't alone among big insurers deciding they are better off not participating.

Insurers can decide to expand into new markets. He said recently that with a Republican Congress deadlocked over efforts to repeal the law, Congress should instead turn to a long-overdue fix.

Customers won't know for several more months for sure what their options are for next year. Other companies like the Blue Cross-Blue Shield insurer Anthem say they are wary of returning without a guarantee that the government will provide cost-sharing subsidies that reduce expenses like co-payments. Meanwhile health insurers in Maryland, Virginia and CT who are remaining part of Obamacare have asked for sharp increases in rates for next year.