Aetna Joins Industry by Bailing Out of Obamacare

Private health insurance (Stan Honda / AFP / Getty)
Stan Honda / AFP / Getty

The Aetna insurance company is terminating coverage for 73 percent of its Obamacare individual policies, facing huge financial losses and the need to hike health insurance premiums by 20 percent just one week before the November 8 elections.

Despite President Barack Obama’s March 2010 claims that the average cost of federal subsidies per enrollee would only be $2,810, in 2016, the average taxpayer cost for the 13 million Obamacare subscribers has spiked up by 53 percent to $4,308 per enrollee.

As a result, Democrats are facing a political disaster, with the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimating that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, referred to as “Obamacare,” now anticipates that the cost for tax credits to subsidize insurers participating in federal and state exchanges will rise from $37 billion in 2015 to $56 billion in 2016, and almost double again to $105 billion by 2025.

Breitbart News reported in May that the President and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans, Marilyn Tavenner, warned the federal and state exchanges that the culmination of market shifts insurers have faced over the past couple of years will cause a “stark rise in health insurance rates” for Obamacare coverage by yearend.

President Barack Obama’s endless promises that, “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan,” became PoitiFact’s “Lie of the Year” in the fall of 2013 when millions of Americans were thrown off their individual health plans.

Instead of expanding access to high-quality healthcare, the Associated Press has reported that of the 19 nationally recognized U.S. cancer “centers of excellence”, only 4 reported offering access through all Obamacare insurers.

The President did not quite admit that Obamacare projections were false and misleading when he told NBC News’ Chuck Todd in November 2013 that “We weren’t as clear as we needed to be in terms of the changes that were taking place.”

Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation has released a report warning that costs under the Obamacare individual health plans are unsustainable, with paid health claims running 22 percent higher than for people covered by employers.

Due to rising financial losses, it was only a matter of time before Aetna would join UnitedHealth and Humana in pulling out of certain regions. The Hill reported that in Obamacare’s first full year in 2014, insurers lost money in 41 states. The final tally has not yet been made available for 2015, but it is believed the losses actually accelerated.

The Obama administration promised insurers that a risk-pooling reimbursement program created among insurers to encourage new entrants into the marketplace would offset large financial losses. But of the $2.87 billion in funds requested by money-losing insurers since 2014, only 12.6% was paid out.

Following Aetna’s announcement that it will be dropping 11 of the 15 states where it has offered Obamacare plans, CEO Kevin Counihan said Aetna’s decision does “not change the fundamental fact that the Health Insurance Marketplace will continue to bring quality coverage to millions of Americans next year and every year after that.”

Despite the bravado, the New York Times reported the announcement was “a blow” to the Obama Administration officials that are trying to claim that Aetna’s withdrawal was retaliation for the Justice Department suing to block its proposed mergers between Aetna and Humana and Cigna and Anthem Blue Cross Association.


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