Aetna to stop selling Iowans individual health insurance plans

  • Aetna to stop selling Iowans individual health insurance plans

Aetna to stop selling Iowans individual health insurance plans

Earlier this week we told you that Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield has decided not to offer individual health insurance protection in Iowa next year.

Aetna spokesman T.J. Crawford said the insurer made the decision to leave Iowa's exchange because of "financial risk and an uncertain outlook for the marketplace". The company said it still is considering its options in the few remaining states where it sells individual policies. Aetna pulled out of most of the markets where it sold exchange plans past year, and its chief executive has described the marketplace as in a "death spiral".

The problem Wellmark, Aetna and other insurers are facing is that not enough young and healthy people are choosing to enroll in plans to help spread out costs. "Given all the uncertainty right now, all we can say is that we are currently evaluating the situation and our options".

Insurers have complained that the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, put them in a hard spot.

After raising premiums this year to better balance out their risks on older, sicker exchange enrollees, S&P expects numerous insurers will break even on Obamacare plans. Many insurers are waffling over where to sell insurance plans in 2018.

About 52,000 Iowans signed up for insurance plans in the online marketplace this year, according to federal data. The company now offers on-exchange health plans in just Delaware, Iowa, Nebraska and Virginia. Aetna has more than 30,000 enrollees there. Medica serves about 14,000 members both on and off the exchanges in Iowa. "We're deeply troubled by the angst and concern the Affordable Care Act is causing in Iowa".

Wellmark cited similar reasons, plus the inability of Republicans controlling Congress to replace the Affordable Care Act with a plan that could provide more stability for the market. Aetna said it had notified regulators of its plans on Thursday. Aetna doesn't break out its ACA enrollment figures by state and did not say how many people its retreat would affect.