Aetna And Other Insurers Say Obamacare Is Meeting Expectations

Aetna and other insurers

U.S. health insurer Aetna Inc. on Friday said it’s healthcare, including individual Obamacare health plans, had performed as expected. News from Aetna arrived only a short time after UnitedHealth Group Inc. said it might exit what it called an unprofitable market.

Aetna said in a regulatory filing that its individual business had continued to perform in line with its projections through October. The company increased its 2015 operating earnings forecast of $7.45 to $7.55 per share.

Aetna released its earnings just one day after UnitedHealth cut its earnings forecast, saying it was losing money on the Obamacare business because of low enrollment and high costs. UnitedHealth said it may choose to pull out of the state health insurance exchanges in 2017.

 

Leerink Partners analyst Ana Gupte said Aetna’s statement showed the company had already factored in challenges in the individual business to its 2015 outlook and commentary about 2016.

This isn’t the first time Aetna has shown some promise for the Affordable Health Care Act. In October, the company said it was not yet making money from the endeavor, but admitted that numbers could improve in 2016.

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Aetna in October said it had 815,000 members in plans on the exchanges and 275,000 in plans sold off the exchanges.

Enrollment for 2016 exchange plans opened earlier this month. In October, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services forecast about 10 million people would have plans in 2016. Industry analysts were calling for 20 million enrollees.

 

Aetna’s earnings affirmation echoes that of Centene Corp., a small insurer focused on Medicaid coverage. Centene also said its exchange business was performing in line with its expectations.

Kaiser Permanente, a hospital and insurer system that sells Obamacare plans in eight states and the District of Columbia, said in an emailed statement on Thursday that it was “strongly committed” to participating in the exchanges.