Aetna health insurance backs out of Iowan individual exchange

Iowa stopgap health insurance plan

A second large insurer has announced its intention to step out of the state, leaving residents in a lurch.

Aetna health insurance has revealed its intentions to withdraw from the Iowa individual marketplace. This raises concerns that residents will not have any coverage options available for 2018.

Tens of thousands of Iowans who purchased health plans through the insurance exchange may be out of luck.

The Aetna health insurance exchange withdrawal will be effective as of January 2018. The insurance company informed state regulators that it has chosen to cease the sale of individual policies covering consumers without access to plans from their employers or from government plans. This decision will impact an estimated 36,205.

Aetna’s announcement follows closely on the heels of one made by Wellmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield. Only three days beforehand, that insurer told Iowa regulators that it would not continue selling individual health plans in the state.

The Aetna health insurance exit will leave only a single insurer in the Iowa exchange.

Iowa Aetna Health Insurance IndustryThe remaining health insurance company in Iowa is Medica. Comparatively, Medica is a far smaller insurer based in Minnesota. That company currently sells individual health plans in the majority of the state’s counties. As of yet, that provider has not stated whether or not it intends to continue selling in Iowa next year.

“We are currently evaluating the situation and our options,” said Medica spokesperson Greg Bury. Should Medica choose to withdraw, residents of Iowa will no longer have any options available through the insurance exchange established through the Affordable Care Act.

The Aetna health insurance choice to withdraw was “a result of financial risk and an uncertain outlook for the marketplace,” said a company spokesperson in a brief statement. That statement did not speak to any of the specifics regarding the reasons the company chose to exit the marketplace.

That said, this is not the first insurance exchange Aetna has decided to leave. It already withdrew from 11 other states in the 2017 year. It blamed Affordable Care Act issues for its decision to leave those previous states.

Similarly, Wellmark said it was leaving Iowa due to the Republicans’ failure to control Congress in replacing the Affordable Care Act with a more stable marketplace.

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