Health insurance options to shrink in Washington D.C.

bills health insurance coverage rates

Aetna will be pulling out of the district’s health insurance exchange

Those living in Washington D.C. may have fewer options through the district’s health insurance exchange next year. Aetna, one of the largest insurance providers in the United States, has begun sending letters to its customers in the district that the policies they purchased through the exchange will be terminated at the end of this year. This, of course, only affects Aenta policyholders, but it will limit the options that consumers have through D.C. Health Link.

There will be less competition in D.C. Health Link at the end of the year

While Aetna is the smaller of the two other insurers that offer coverage through D.C. Health Link, more options can provide competition in the health insurance market and keep premiums relatively stable. In Washington D.C., this could become a problem for some consumers, as the district is home to the smallest independent insurance markets in the nation. The relatively low competition among insurers, as well as the comparatively small population of consumers, could lead to higher insurance premiums for those purchasing coverage through the district’s exchange.

Aetna is finding it difficult to compete in a small market

bills health insurance ratesAetna has been experiencing trouble competing in the D.C. insurance market. according to the company, it no longer feels it can meet the needs of policyholders while remaining competitive in the market. As such, Aetna will no longer be offering policies through D.C. Health Link and will focus on other markets. CareFirst, the dominant insurer in the market has proposed to raise rates on the coverage it provides by as much as 17%, and the lack of options that consumers have may place them under greater financial pressure.

Insurers are fighting rising medical costs and more frequent claims

At the end of the year, the number of policies offered through D.C. Health Link will fall to 162, which is half the number that was offered when the exchange opened two years ago. Insurers are finding it more difficult to provide affordable coverage due to the rising cost of medical care and the growing number of claims they are having to manage.

 

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