While Republicans rewrite the Affordable Care Act in Washington, the future of the current law has grown hazier with the nation's third-largest health insurer completely divorcing itself from state-based insurance markets. This year, it has 255,000 Obamacare policyholders compared with 964,000 at the end of last year.
On Wednesday evening, company spokesman T.J. Crawford confirmed that prediction, saying Aetna would also pull out of the remaining states, DE and Nebraska, in 2018, and thus has "completely exited the exchanges".
Aetna said its individual commercial products lost almost $700 million between 2014 and 2016 and are projected to lose more than $200 million this year despite a significantly reduced membership. But T.J. Crawford, spokesman for Aetna, declined to comment on the insurer's "potential Nevada presence".
Aetna joins Humana, which said earlier this year that it would abandon selling that kind of coverage, a decision that temporarily left 16 Tennessee counties with no individual Affordable Care Act options for 2018.
The move leaves Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of DE, which has most of the individual market share in DE, as the only insurer providing coverage on the state's health insurance exchange.
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The move by Aetna leaves Nebraska with only one potential Obamacare insurer next year. Aetna is still offering insurance on the marketplaces there in 2017, as well as in Iowa and Virginia. "Repealing and replacing it with patient-centered solutions that stabilize the marketplace to bring down costs and increase choices is the only solution". "For the consumer, they're going to see big rate hikes", Corlette said.
Many insurers, members of the Obama administration and ACA supporters portrayed jumps in premiums as one-time course corrections and predicted that both premiums and insurers' participation would level off.
In Virginia, Cigna wants to raise rates by an average of 45%, while HealthKeepers, an affiliate of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, is looking for an 38% increase.
Carper said Aetna's withdrawal will leave a single insurer in Delaware's ACA marketplace and will force 12,000 state residents to find new coverage.