Aetna drops Affordable Care Act coverage in Arizona

YUMA, Ariz.- Some Arizona residents with health insurance under Affordable Care Act will lose their plan next year.

Aetna says it’s pulling out of the health exchanges set up by Obama Care in Arizona, meaning residents will have to find new health plans.

Robert Trenschel, president and CEO of Yuma Regional Medical Center, says residents are going to have few options to choose from for affordable health care.

The choices for consumers are less and less and that will be an issue most likely here in Yuma,” says Trenschel.

Aetna is the latest insurance company to drop the affordable healthcare act. Trenschel says money is part of the reason, “Unfortunately, many of the insurers, what they are finding is that the risk pool or the acuity level of their patients is very high and those patients are costing more than anybody had ever anticipated.”

Aetna reports it lost $430 million in individual health care policies since the exchanged opened in January of 2014. “A lot of it has to deal with the risk pool and the size of the population they are serving,” says Trenschel. “If the size of the population you are serving is medium, and all those people are very sick and you don’t have a full compliment of people who are relatively well to balance out that sick risk pool that you have in that population of patients; that’s when their margins tend to diminish and their costs increase significantly.”

Yuma residents are going to have fewer options to choose from as more insurances drop Obamacare. With less people having insurance, it will create a problem for YRMC. Trenschel says, “As more insurers pull out as more people become uninsured it’s going to create a burden on the hospital.”

YRMC is working to make sure residents have insurance available to them. Trenschel says, “They’ll have to work with however is offering the product here locally and we will obviously contract with them. We have reached out to the various exchanges just to make sure there continues to be a product here in Yuma for our patients so we will continue to work with anybody we can to make sure that insurance is available.”

Aetna’s move follows similar moves by competitors such as UnitedHealth Group, the nation’s largest insurer.

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