Health insurer to stop selling individual policies in Iowa

Kari Scott
April 8, 2017

NEW YORK, April 6 Health insurer Aetna Inc said on Thursday it will exit Iowa's Obamacare-compliant individual insurance market in 2018, citing financial risk and the uncertain outlook.

"We are very concerned about this development, but Iowa is not alone as Affordable Care Act markets around the country are being left with few to no options available to consumers", Iowa Insurance Commissioner Doug Ommen said in a statement after the Wellmark departure was announced.

Aetna, which has lost almost $700 million in its individual market division since 2014, is still deciding whether to continue participating on the exchanges in Delaware, Virginia and Nebraska. Aetna pulled out of most of the markets where it sold exchange plans previous year, and its chief executive has described the marketplace as in a "death spiral".

The move comes days after Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield announced it was leaving the state's market after this year. "Given all the uncertainty right now, all we can say is that we are currently evaluating the situation and our options".

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Another insurance company is going to stop selling individual health insurance policies in the state. The company informed the appropriate federal and state regulators of their intention. A spokeswoman for Gundersen Health Plan said it plans to participate in the Iowa marketplace next year. For months, health insurers have threatened to quit offering policies on the ACA's marketplace if they don't get the regulatory details they need to design and price their insurance plans.

All three cited uncertainty about the federal law, which is under attack in Congress and by the Trump administration. Including its customers in Iowa, it covers 240,000 people in individual plans on those exchanges.

The announcement is a continuation of Aetna's broader decision to pull back from the public marketplace. Aetna has about 30,000 covered lives under Obamacare; Wellmark about 21,000. Medica says it has 14,000 Iowa members.

Aetna's withdrawal could impact more than 35,000 people.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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