Obamacare Collapse? Iowa Blues Withdrawing From ACA Exchange

Yet another insurer climbs out of a state ACA marketplace from fear of being sunk by an untenable risk pool, the New York Times reports. Officials at Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield say that the insurer will not participate in the exchange marketplace in 2018.

The company says it lost about $90 million the last three years. The main problem, cited by other health plans that have exited other markets, is that those enrolling tend to be a sicker population that’s costly to care for. Not enough young-healthies are enrolling, a structural problem long noted by critics of Obamacare.

Some of those critics, specifically GOP lawmakers who’ve promised to repeal and replace the ACA, aren’t helping either, according to some health plan executives. The American Health Insurance Act, the GOP’s proposal, couldn’t gain enough legislative traction last month.

Wellmark’s CEO tells the Times. “While there are many potential solutions, the timing and relative impact of those solutions is currently unclear,” says John Forsyth. “This makes it difficult to establish plans for 2018.”

Two other insurance companies operate in Iowa—Aetna and Medica. But neither has yet to commit to participating next year. A Medica spokesman told the Times: “In light of information about insurers pulling their products from the individual market in Iowa, Medica needs to carefully consider its options.”

Wellmark’s departure will leave 21,400 Iowans scrambling to find other sources of coverage. Wellmark covers about 1.7 million people in the state, the bulk through employer-sponsored health care.

Source: New York Times