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Aetna will completely exit Obamacare exchanges in 2018

Aetna will completely exit Obamacare exchanges in 2018

The insurer said it is pulling out because of financial losses, adding that its individual commercial products lost almost $700 million between 2014 and 2016 and could lose another $200 million this year.

Regulators previous year approved average rate increases in the individual market of 32.5 percent for Highmark and about 23 percent for Aetna. Insurance experts expect holes to develop in 2018.

Many insurers, members of the Obama administration and ACA supporters portrayed jumps in premiums as one-time course corrections and predicted that both premiums and insurers' participation would level off.

But even if the Republicans' bill - known as the American Health Care Act - is passed by the Senate it would not solve a critical outstanding issue for insurers looking at 2018: Will the government continue to fund the cost-sharing subsidies that help individuals pay for care? Nevada provides incentives to the Medicaid managed-care insurers it contracts with to also sell plans on its insurance exchange.

The cascade of state-by-state decisions represents a stark turnabout for the nation's third-largest insurer, which initially entered 15 states' marketplaces but last summer chose to slash its 2017 participation to just four. But rural areas may not be attractive to insurers looking to cut losses.

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Aetna is not the only insurance company leaving Obamacare exchanges.

Aetna's exit leaves Medica as the only insurer on the Nebraska exchange and Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield as the sole carrier on the DE exchange. It was the first major insurance provider to opt out of Obamacare under President Donald Trump.

The decision will leave the state of Nebraska with just one remaining insurer. Aetna withdrew from 11 of its 15 markets for 2017.

Customers won't know for several more months for sure what their options are for next year.

For 2018, Humana already announced it is abandoning the individual market, UnitedHealthcare will pull out of Virginia and Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield will stop selling individual policies in Iowa. Another insurer, Medica, said earlier this month that its "ability to stay in the Iowa insurance market in any capacity is in question at this point".

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