The Obamacare exodus has begun. Humana announced yesterday, shortly after its proposed merger with Aetna collapsed, that it was pulling out from its remaining Obamacare business in 2018.
"We all as health care professionals bought into (the program) several years ago when the ACA came out; not because it was ideal, but because it had great goals", said Susan Fox, president and CEO of White Plains Hospital. "This has included pursuing business changes, such as modifying networks, restructuring product offerings, reducing the company's geographic footprint and increasing premiums", they elaborated. According to him, Obamacare was a complete disaster and the President is hopeful that the rudiments of the upcoming plans will be in accordance by the end of 2017. So the company is exiting all 11 states where it sells individual policies, both on the Obamacare exchange and outside of it.
"Based on our initial analysis of data associated with the company's health-care exchange membership following the 2017 open enrollment period, we continue to see further signs of an unbalanced risk pool", Humana CEO Bruce Broussard said during a conference call Tuesday.
The insurer, which had roughly 152,000 individual market policyholders, expects to lose $45 million in that segment. Much of this drop was due to a significant slowdown in enrollments after President Donald Trump took office and pulled large amounts of funding for enrollment outreach.
While the Affordable Care Act hangs in limbo, one sector of the population stands to be significantly impacted.
The rule also proposes to shorten the upcoming annual open enrollment period for the individual market. To that end, the agency is expanding a pilot announced previous year that tests the impact of stricter verification. Opponents pointed to the problems as a sign that Obamacare was collapsing and things would only get worse. "Humana is the only insurer now on the Obamacare exchange in Knoxville - which means 40,000 Knoxville residents may have an Obamacare subsidy next year, but it'll be like holding a bus ticket in a town where no buses run".
Cynthia Cox, associate director of a program focused on health reform and private insurance at the Kaiser Family Foundation said that in a true death spiral, the people buying insurance on the exchanges should be a progressively sicker group of people each year.
While repealing Obamacare was a central theme of Trump's campaign, there's still little consensus among congressional leaders and the White House about how to replace the current law.
The Affordable Care Act has provided health insurance for your constituents and has done so with overwhelming success.
Aetna and Anthem recently said they were evaluating their participation in the exchanges. And it would give insurers more time to have their 2018 plan reviewed and finalized by state and federal regulators.