CBSNews: Major health insurance companies – Blue Cross, Aetna, United, Humana – have fled the Obamacare health care exchanges in various states, which are scheduled to start on Oct. 1st, 2014.
Insurance companies like Aetna and United have said, “thanks, but no thanks” to the public health insurance marketplace set up under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, which will facilitate government subsidies to individuals and small businesses to buy approved health plans to comply with the law.
The ACA requires every American to have health insurance, or pay a penalty. Individuals who are not covered by their employer can enroll in the state or federal government-run health care “marketplace,” which will provide subsidies to individuals between 100 and 400 percent of the poverty line.
Aetna, a fortune 100 company with $34.2 billion in revenue, has pulled out of public exchanges in three states, and will not be part of the individual health insurance exchange in its home base, Connecticut.
Founded in Hartford, Conn., in 1850, Aetna withdrew its application to participate in the state on Monday, due to high rates proposed by state regulators, the Hartford Courant reported.
“We have spent considerable time identifying those states in which we can be competitive and add the most value to the market,” Aetna said in a statement. “As a result of our analysis, we have reluctantly concluded that we will withdraw certain Individual Exchange filings for 2014, including filings in Connecticut, Georgia and Maryland.”
“This is not a step taken lightly, and was made as part of a national review of our Exchange strategy,” the company said. “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.”
Aetna will also not participate in California’s exchange, and a spokesperson told CNSNews.com that the company never intended to do so.
“We did not withdraw exchange plans in California, as we never planned participation nor filed [Qualified Health Plans] QHPs to participate in the California exchange,” a spokesperson said.
Anthem Blue Cross has withdrawn from its bid to participate in the state’s small business exchange, as well.
United Health Group, the largest health insurer in the United States, has also taken a pass on the Golden State’s individual insurance market under Obamacare.
As a result, roughly 8,000 policyholders will be left searching for new insurance.
Aetna will stop selling individual insurance policies in California all together, leaving nearly 50,000 existing policyholders to find new coverage by January.
‘If You Like Your Doctor,’ Hope Your Insurer Is Participating in the Exchange
“No matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period,” Obama said on June 15, 2009.
“If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period," he said. "No one will take it away. No matter what.”
That promise, however, has been revised by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which now says, “you may be able to keep your current doctor” in the health insurance marketplace.
“Most health insurance plans offered in the Marketplace have networks of hospitals, doctors, specialists, pharmacies, and other health care providers,” HHS said on its website for the health reform law. “Networks include health care providers that the plan contracts with to take care of the plan’s members.”
“Depending on the type of policy you buy, care may be covered only when you get it from a network provider,” they said.
President Barack Obama signs the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) into law on Mar. 23, 2010. (AP)
With insurers opting out of state-run health exchanges, individuals are left with less options.
Only three companies remain in Connecticut’s “Access Health CT” exchange, following Aetna’s departure.
Similarly, only five plans are participating in the exchange in Georgia, after Aetna and Coventry Health Insurance dropped out last week.
The Savannah Morning News noted that this will “leave residents of some parts of the state with limited choice.”
Two of the three largest health insurers in Wisconsin will also not participate in the state’s online marketplace under Obamacare, it was announced on Wednesday.
Though they will not participate in at least four state-run exchanges, Aetna said they “appreciate” the opportunity to work with state regulators on complying with the ACA.
“We have appreciated the chance to work with the regulators in each state for the past months on a variety of key issues regarding ACA implementation,” Aetna said in a statement. “We will continue to work with them, and various Exchange leadership teams, as we evaluate exchange participation in future years.”
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**More and more politicians, unions, insurance companies and people who have read the bill are calling ObamaCare a ‘trainwreck’.