Insurance provider Humana has chosen to leave the ObamaCare health care exchanges by the end of this year, a decision which industry experts warn could be somewhat devastating for a massive population of Americans come 2018. Of course, Humana is not the only company to share in the growing concern over the lack of a proposed ACA replacement from the present administration.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty and the threat of repeal and delay is not helping things. It’s causing a lot of uncertainty, and Humana’s exit could be a harbinger of things to come,” explains Topher Spiro, who is a health policy expert at the Center for American Progress. Indeed, insurance companies have been warning about potential drops from the marketplace if they do not see any signs of stability within Congress.
Apparently those signs are few and far between. Thousands of consumers, then, could be left with zero coverage at all, by early next year.
And, if history is any indication, as soon as one insurer drops from the exchanges, other insurers are quite likely to follow. After all, Humana scaled back a bit when Aetna announced its was pulling out from most of the exchange, just last year. Similarly, UnitedHealthCare cut back after last year’s Aetna announcment.
“It did start to feel like a domino effect last year, and it could be something similar this year,” comments Kaiser Family Foundation health policy expert Cynthia Cox. “There’s still a lot we don’t know and a lot of uncertainty in this market, and the Humana exit, in part, reflects that.”
Aetna has not yet commented as to whether or it will participate in the 2018 exchanges but CEO Mark Bertolino seemed to be right in tuned with Cox, saying “I think you will see a lot more withdrawals this year.”
He goes on to support, though, “There isn’t enough money in the ACA as structured, even with the fees and taxes, to support the population that needs to be served.”
And, finally, he adds, “It’s not going to get any better; it’s getting worse: [Obama Care] is in a death spiral.”