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Aetna CEO: Young People Are Choosing Gas and Beer Over Obamacare, ‘Very Difficult’ To Get People In Exchanges

During an interview with Bloomberg at The Year Ahead Summit, Aetna CEO and Chairman Mark Bertolini argued, “The healthier people pull out, because the out-of-pocket costs aren’t worth it. I mean, young people can do the math, gas for the car, beer on Fridays and Saturdays, health insurance. Everybody’s immortal at that age. And so, it’s very difficult to get people into the exchanges.”

Bertolini said, “[W]hat happens is, is the rates rise. The healthier people pull out, because the out-of-pocket costs aren’t worth it. I mean, young people can do the math, gas for the car, beer on Fridays and Saturdays, health insurance. Everybody’s immortal at that age. And so, it’s very difficult to get people into the exchanges. And the higher the prices go, even if they’re not out-of-pocket, is still too high for people to join. So, what happens, the population gets sicker, and sicker, and sicker, and sicker, and sicker, the rates keep rising to try and catch it. It’s a fruitless chase, and ultimately, you end up with a very bad pool or risk.”

Bertolini added that if Medicare and Medicaid were expanded, “it would have been a lot less intensive from the standpoint of investment. The risk adjustment mechanisms work for both those populations. We could have covered the population we have with a lot less money than we’ve already spent.”

(h/t Grabien)

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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