Another major insurer to bolt Obamacare while premiums go through the roof

Aetna, Inc., the third largest health insurer in America, will not expand its Obamacare coverage into New Jersey next year as originally planned and is reassessing its participation in the Obamacare program.

AOL:

In a conference call following the company's earnings announcement, CEO Mark Bertolini said that the firm has halted its plans to expand into two new states' exchanges in 2017 and is looking into the reasons for losses in the exchanges it is currently participating in.

"In light of the disappointing year to date performance and updated 2016 projections for our individual on and off exchange products, combined with the significant structural challenges facing the public exchanges, we believe it is only prudent to reassess our level of participation on the public exchanges. Our initial action will be to withdraw our 2017 public exchange expansion plans.Additionally, given the deadline to attest to our final rate filings for 2017, we are also undertaking a complete evaluation of our current exchange footprint as the poor performance of these products warrants such an analysis."

Originally Aetna was planning to expand to New Jersey and Indiana in 2017. It currently operates in 15 states across the US.

The decision by Aetna comes less than 4 months after the nation's largest insurer, United Healthcare, decided to roll back almost all of its Obamacare offerings after sustaining losses and after the Department of Justice denied Aetna's proposed merger with fellow-insurer Humana.

The move could also be worrying for consumers, since the number of insurers offering plans in a state is tightly correlated to the price of insurance.

As far as rate increases in other states, Illinois is being hit particularly hard:

Insurers in Illinois are set to increase premiums by as much as 45 percent for those buying coverage through the Obamacare marketplace, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The most popular insurer in Illinois on the Affordable Care Act exchange, Blue Cross Blue Shield, has proposed increases from 23 to 43 percent for premiums for individual health-care plans saying the hike is due to changes in the cost of medical services.

“No final decisions have been made regarding our 2017 offerings,” the insurer said. “While some carriers have chosen to exit the market, we are working toward continuing to provide health insurance options for consumers in Illinois. However, that must be done in a sustainable way.”

Another insurer, Coventry Health Care of Illinois, has proposed a rate increase of 21 percent.

“The increases aren’t a surprise as many insurers have been losing money in the marketplace,” according to Katherine Hempstead, a senior adviser at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Hempstead added, "You can't sustain a situation where most carriers lose money."  In other words, Obamacare is unsustainable.

Even the prospect of being forced to pay a fine for not having Obamacare-approved insurance has failed to force people on to the exchanges to buy a policy.  The talking point of Obamacare advocates that so many more Americans are covered fails to take into account that while the expanded Medicaid rolls are growing, thus putting more pressure on a failing program, the number of Americans being insured by private carriers is falling.  And the number of insurance companies willing to sell policies on the exchanges continues to shrink at an alarming rate.

Is there any doubt anymore that a tipping point has been reached?  Without massive intervention by the federal government, the entire Obamacare program will collapse, and millions of Americans carrying a private health insurance policy may find themselves hung out to dry.

Aetna, Inc., the third largest health insurer in America, will not expand its Obamacare coverage into New Jersey next year as originally planned and is reassessing its participation in the Obamacare program.

AOL:

In a conference call following the company's earnings announcement, CEO Mark Bertolini said that the firm has halted its plans to expand into two new states' exchanges in 2017 and is looking into the reasons for losses in the exchanges it is currently participating in.

"In light of the disappointing year to date performance and updated 2016 projections for our individual on and off exchange products, combined with the significant structural challenges facing the public exchanges, we believe it is only prudent to reassess our level of participation on the public exchanges. Our initial action will be to withdraw our 2017 public exchange expansion plans.Additionally, given the deadline to attest to our final rate filings for 2017, we are also undertaking a complete evaluation of our current exchange footprint as the poor performance of these products warrants such an analysis."

Originally Aetna was planning to expand to New Jersey and Indiana in 2017. It currently operates in 15 states across the US.

The decision by Aetna comes less than 4 months after the nation's largest insurer, United Healthcare, decided to roll back almost all of its Obamacare offerings after sustaining losses and after the Department of Justice denied Aetna's proposed merger with fellow-insurer Humana.

The move could also be worrying for consumers, since the number of insurers offering plans in a state is tightly correlated to the price of insurance.

As far as rate increases in other states, Illinois is being hit particularly hard:

Insurers in Illinois are set to increase premiums by as much as 45 percent for those buying coverage through the Obamacare marketplace, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The most popular insurer in Illinois on the Affordable Care Act exchange, Blue Cross Blue Shield, has proposed increases from 23 to 43 percent for premiums for individual health-care plans saying the hike is due to changes in the cost of medical services.

“No final decisions have been made regarding our 2017 offerings,” the insurer said. “While some carriers have chosen to exit the market, we are working toward continuing to provide health insurance options for consumers in Illinois. However, that must be done in a sustainable way.”

Another insurer, Coventry Health Care of Illinois, has proposed a rate increase of 21 percent.

“The increases aren’t a surprise as many insurers have been losing money in the marketplace,” according to Katherine Hempstead, a senior adviser at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Hempstead added, "You can't sustain a situation where most carriers lose money."  In other words, Obamacare is unsustainable.

Even the prospect of being forced to pay a fine for not having Obamacare-approved insurance has failed to force people on to the exchanges to buy a policy.  The talking point of Obamacare advocates that so many more Americans are covered fails to take into account that while the expanded Medicaid rolls are growing, thus putting more pressure on a failing program, the number of Americans being insured by private carriers is falling.  And the number of insurance companies willing to sell policies on the exchanges continues to shrink at an alarming rate.

Is there any doubt anymore that a tipping point has been reached?  Without massive intervention by the federal government, the entire Obamacare program will collapse, and millions of Americans carrying a private health insurance policy may find themselves hung out to dry.