Unraveling: Major health insurance companies abandon Obamacare exchanges

Wednesday, August 14, 2013 by: J. D. Heyes
Tags: Obamacare exchanges, insurance companies, health care

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(NaturalNews) More and more health insurance companies are bailing out of Obamacare, fearing - correctly - that they will lose massive amounts of money if they participate in the state-run "exchanges" called for under the law.

Not that the Obama administration wants to discuss the bailouts, other than to dismiss them as generally rare occurrences. And while the overall number of companies bailing might be small, what is significant is the size of the companies; they are among the largest insurers in the U.S.

Anthem Blue Cross, Aetna, United Health Group and Humana have all said they won't be participating in exchanges in certain states. These exchanges, mind you, are going to be the only place Americans will be able to purchase health insurance using taxpayer-provided subsidies under the law.

So much for choice, competition, cheaper rates

"According to Obamacare's individual mandate, all Americans are required to purchase a government-approved health insurance plan," writes Dr. Susan Berry for Brietbart News. "Americans who do not obtain health insurance through an employer or Medicaid must purchase it through the exchanges in their home state. Some exchanges will be run by the state government, while others by the federal government or a combination of the two."

Oh, the disaster that's looming.

Remember when Obama was campaigning around the country trying to sell his signature healthcare bill as the end-all, be-all of reform? Remember when he said things like, you'll be able to keep your doctor; you'll be able to keep your health insurance; Obamacare will lower your premiums, and so on. If you're still convinced these things will happen, I have lots of Louisiana swamp land to sell you.

Because here's the thing: As more major health insurers withdraw from some of these state exchanges, you, the consumer, will have less "choice." And there will be less "competition," two elements of Obamacare that were supposedly going to make it the best effort ever at "reforming" American health care. And all of this is supposed to begin Oct. 1.

According to, Aetna - a Fortune 100 company with $34.2 billion in revenue last year, has withdrawn from exchanges in three states, including its corporate home state of Connecticut.

The Hartford Courant newspaper reported that the insurer withdrew "its application to sell individual health insurance plans through a public exchange after the state Insurance Department told the insurer its proposed rates were too high."

Aetna, mind you, priced its coverage so that it would not lose money. And companies that lose money can't simply print more, unlike the federal government.

When state insurance regulators told Aetna its rates were too high, the company bailed, refusing to accept the rates the state wanted the company to charge.

"This is not a step taken lightly, and was made as part of [a] national review of our exchange strategy," Aetna spokeswoman Susan Millerick told the paper. "Unfortunately, we believe the modifications to the rates filed by Aetna will not allow us to collect enough premiums to cover the cost of the plans and meet the service expectations of our customers."

The paper reported further that the Connecticut Insurance Department noted the insurer's price reflected a presumed increase of 10 percent in medical and pharmacy services, and that the department only wanted to allow for an 8.5 percent increase. See, this is what Obamacare does - it mandates, regulates, and penalizes. How's that for "reform?"

Insurers forbidden from setting their own prices

Also, the Courant said, the state's insurance department would not permit an 8.1 percent risk adjustment that Aetna sought, because the department does not allow such risk adjustments in the first year of pricing.

The CEO of Connecticut's health exchange, Kevin Counihan, has said that consumers will still have considerable choice in the state without Aetna, according to reports. If only.

USA Today notes that only three insurers remain in the Connecticut market to offer plans to individuals. So much for rampant "choice."

"Aetna is also withdrawing from Maryland's exchange for individual health plans and from Georgia's exchange for both individual and small-group plans. Aetna is also not participating in California's exchange, although it had reportedly never planned to do so," Breitbart reported.


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