Does This Move Defeat the Purpose of Obamacare?

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, set to go into full effect on Jan 1., is certain to have broad-reaching impacts on the way that insurance companies sell their products to consumers. Some insurers, like Aetna  (NYSE: AET  ) , have been jockeying for position in the Medicaid arena, purchasing Coventry Health Care for $5.7 billion to take advantage of the coming Medicaid expansion. Other insurers have chosen to enter new markets and utilize the transparent state-run health exchanges being formed under the PPACA, also known as Obamacare, to expand their presence.

Over the weekend, Aetna made it very clear to consumers and the government that increasing levels of competition may not be the end result of state-run health exchanges.

On Saturday, Aetna informed California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones that, in addition to not participating in California's health exchange, it planned to pull out of the state altogether with regard to offering individual health plans. Keep in mind that Aetna still intends to offer health plans to businesses and Medicare beneficiaries, which is where the bulk of its profits are in California, but it is nonetheless going to send 49,000 current members out into the cold (or should I say the palm trees?) to find another health plan. 

A case of deja vu

President Obama answers questions on health reform. Source: White House.

If this sounds eerily familiar, it should be, because we saw very similar anti-competitive announcements from three of the nation's biggest insurers in California last month: Aetna, CIGNA (NYSE: CI  ) , and UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH  ) , which all decided not to participate in Covered California, the state's health exchange.

The logic behind their absence in participating in a public health exchange does make some sense. Combined, these three health-benefits providers comprise just 7% of all outstanding individual health plans in California. With the big four -- Kaiser Permanente, Blue Shield of California, Anthem Blue Cross (a WellPoint (NYSE: WLP  ) subsidiary), and Health Net (NYSE: HNT  )  -- taking the majority of California's individual health insurance business, the costs of fighting for new members may not have been justified.

Does this defeat the purpose of Obamacare?
The biggest concern remains whether these new exchanges will increase competition among insurers through better pricing transparency, or whether health insurance for individuals will cluster in the hands of just a few companies in each state. Based on what we're witnessing from California, it looks as if four insurers will control the bulk of the market. Even if Obamacare's state-run health exchanges have resulted in lower-than-expected premiums for individuals on the surface, putting majority control in the hands of just a handful of insurers won't obligate them to pass along these cost savings to consumers and could lead to less price competitiveness, defeating the whole purpose of Obamacare.

For Aetna's bottom line, its choice not to participate in Covered California isn't a big blow by any means since it derives most of its premiums in the state from enterprise and Medicare members. But, Aetna is sending what could be a bigger message that not even the most populous state in the country is enough allure to enter a crowded state-run health exchange. If the impetus to enter new markets is discouraged by state-run exchanges, then the chances of seeing meaningful reductions in premium pricing could be lost.

It certainly makes me wonder if CIGNA or UnitedHealth are next to exit California on an individual plan basis, and whether we'll see similar insurers dropping out of prominent markets in other states. One thing is for sure, though -- there are still more questions than answers as we approach the full implementation date in January.

Obamacare will undoubtedly have far-reaching effects on the insurance industry. The Motley Fool's new free report, "Everything You Need to Know About Obamacare," lets you know how your health insurance, your taxes, and your portfolio could be affected. Click here to read more. 


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  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2013, at 2:00 PM, Scanner89 wrote:

    Pat comment against Obamacare. Everyone like me or thumbs up me.

  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2013, at 2:57 PM, francis24 wrote:

    I would rather we had single payer health care and get rid of these for profit insurance companies. so, good riddance Aetna; you exit is a good start

  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2013, at 3:12 PM, HuskerInTX wrote:

    Anyone in the health insurance business knows full well that it is impossible that there could be "more" competition under Obamacare.

    In today's insurance world, controlling claims costs has everything to do with a comprehensive provider network. A comprehensive provider network takes years, if not decades, to contract, and the insurer must have lots of covered lives to wield any negotiating power with the providers.

    There are only a few insurance carriers that have had the clout to build these networks: Aetna, United Health, Blue Cross, and to a lessor extent Humana and Cigna.

    The other carriers that didn't quite have the clout - Unicare, Principal, New York Life, Met, and dozens of others - have left the market or sold out their books of business to the big guys.

    Under Obamacare, that trend will only accelerate, as there is simply no mathematical way for the small, regional insurers to compete with the big guys long-term - they don't have the provider networks and never will.

  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2013, at 3:29 PM, Teapartysucks wrote:

    The U.S.A. is the only nation foolish enough to use "FOR PROFIT" insurers for health care. Their primary (only) reason to be in business is to make a profit! They will cut and refuse to pay for procedures at every turn to keep costs down. You best outcome is not their concern - their bottom line is!

  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2013, at 3:32 PM, mossack wrote:

    Ha, "the whole purpose of Obamacare"--- sorry, but it's not to cut the cost of health insurance to paying individuals. It's to further an agenda of creating a sense of entitlement and dependence on a big-brother government.

  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2013, at 3:32 PM, TSP1973 wrote:

    It was common sense that this was going to happen and the people that wanted this so bad was warned that insurance companies will be getting out.

  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2013, at 3:33 PM, cbchef2003 wrote:

    When even the BIG insurers, like Aetna ( and probably soon BC/BS, pull the plug, it tells me as a consumer, and citizen, that the "wait and see" approach is best for me. I will gladly absorb the penalties instilled upon me, until this "thing" either irons itself out, or disappears altogether. These no name newcomers, will be EXACTLY the downfall, the administration was hoping to avoid. The implosion is imminent, I intend to sit back, and watch the fallout.

  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2013, at 3:34 PM, GulfVet49 wrote:

    I'm a physician and mark my words-this act is a terrible piece of legislatiion(Think S-word) and no way in hell will it protect patients or make healthcare affordable, If we are not careful the mandates will bankrupt my beloved nation. Look at the "vaunted" European health care schemes, they are gradually turning back to the private sector. Kill this before it spreads!

  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2013, at 3:35 PM, independantCA wrote:

    "If you like your insurance you will be able to keep it" - well so much for those of us Californian's who previously had Aetna.

    I do not want government running my health care choices. If I could opt out of Medicare and keep my payroll deduction in a separate bank account for later in life I absolutely would.

    Government is the most inefficient way to run almost ANYTHING.

    Obamacare is an "obama-nation"

  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2013, at 3:36 PM, doco177 wrote:

    1. Millions are and will lose the insurance Obama promised they could keep. Because ObamaCare forces employers to offer expensive Cadillac plans but also offers the option of paying a fine for not providing health insurance that can be cheaper than providing it, between seven and twenty million Americans are likely to lose their health insurance coverage according to the Congressional Budget Office. The original estimate was closer to four million.

    2. The cost of healthcare premiums is about to further skyrocket. Premium costs have already exploded, but that is a slow-motion explosion. In the near future, we could see costs double or worse. Naturally, these costs will hit an already burdened middle class hardest.

    3. Lost jobs. Lost jobs.

    The Federal Reserve's March beige book on economic activity noted that businesses "cited the unknown effects of the Affordable Care Act as reasons for planned layoffs and reluctance to hire more staff."

    Meanwhile, human resources consulting firm Adecco found that half of the small businesses it surveyed in January either plan to cut their workforce, not hire new workers, or shift to part-time or temporary help because of ObamaCare.

    4. Potential doctor shortages that will mean rationing: The healthcare industry is already a bureaucratic quagmire. ObamaCare is about to add steroids. As the profession becomes tyrannized by government, the talented people currently practicing medicine plan to get out sooner than expected. Who knows how many will choose not to get in.

    Doctor shortages are what lead to the nightmare known as rationed care. Here's an unsettling example already being practiced.

    5. Somewhere around $800 billion in tax increases will hit America's middle class. This added burden will not only further oppress a middle class already reeling from a drop in wages over the last few years, but could damage the overall economy.

    6. Inflation, the cruelest tax on the poor. When businesses get socked with added costs brought about by higher taxes and burdensome government mandates, they pass those cost along to the consumer in the form of higher prices.

    7. Added bureaucracy. Even those Obama lapdogs over at the Washington Post's Wonk Blog are admitting that applying for health care is about to get more burdensome than the byzantine paperwork involved in buying a home.

    8. To cut costs or to avoid having to provide insurance, workers on the economic margins are already losing hours, which means a lower paycheck. There are a million sad stories in ObamaVille; here are just a few of them.

    9. ObamaCare is projected to add $6.2 TRILLION to a deficit the GAO has already declared "unsustainable." That's "trillion" with a "t".

    10. More taxes than currently estimated are likely to hit because of situations like this one.

    The govt becoming more involved in health care is the reason the costs have increased. So...Govt creates a crisis, then provides a solution that comes at the expense of liberty and freedom, costs trillions, and by most accounts won't solve the problem but in fact make it far worse.Corruption, incompetence, disregard of the Constitution, and above all lying are integral to the way that this country is being run.

    Three years ago, Obama, Democrats, and his media lied to us about cutting the cost of health care, being able to keep our insurance, and not taxing the middle class.

    Today, those lies and what ObamaCare is and will do to the working and middle class are the biggest untold story in America.

    Just refuse obamacare..REFUSE..If only a mere 20% of the over 300 million population of the USA refuse Obamacare the government would be overwhelmed to even think they could lock every citizen up that refused to participate in the most corrupt and unlawful ways which it was passed that circumvented the constitution of the United States.

  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2013, at 3:39 PM, cejenkinsjr wrote:

    gee Francis24. you sound like a socialist. For profit companies hire and employ hundreds of thousands of people. Real people that depend on their company to be profitable so that they will get a paycheck so that they can go to the store and buy groceries and pay their rent.

  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2013, at 3:41 PM, reddog94904 wrote:

    The ultimate goal of Obama and his supporters has always been a "Nationlized" health care system at the onset. The next phase, if there is not enough competition, is obviously have the Fed Government take over the whole system. The populist hues and cries would naturally lead to that goal.

  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2013, at 3:42 PM, sdtjhfg wrote:

    Don't blame them. healthcare is a business for profit. Evenr hte non-profits have to have positive earnings. I support any effort to derail Obamacare. Whole thing is stupid. Everyoine is jockying for their own best position and the only thing it will do is increase the costs of taking care of peopel that no one wants to take care of. Change the law and allow those that don't have insurance to be denied medical care; including 911. That will make people buy insurance and create heathly insurance pools. I'm sick of paying for low-income people.

  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2013, at 3:52 PM, EdHamox wrote:

    New Word

    Ineptocracy

    - (in-ep-toc'-ra-cy -

    A system of government where the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

    Moochers electing looters to steal from the producers.

  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2013, at 3:53 PM, stevetimeshare wrote:

    The article clearly states that these companies comprise only 7% of the private insurance market in California. So why exactly is this going to ruin the 93% that the big four control? The millions of uninsured will have the same group of companies that they have now, but will for a change, actually be able to purchase insurence, since the preexisting condition restrictions will no longer be allowed.

    If the big 4 start making money on these policies - the others will try to get on board the band wagon soon enough.

  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2013, at 3:59 PM, bamaguy wrote:

    First we know that that no actuary has agreed that Obamacare is going to reduce cost to any insured. In fact most have said cost will go up. So I am confused the articles premis that Obamacare is going to lower cost.

    Once you get past that. These companies see the problems that are going to be caused by Obamacare. The CA will start what they always do, mandate lower rates, forcing companies to charge less than adequate rates. It is going to cripple this economy.

    This is a political law. Nothing else. P&C companies are leaving CA as well.

  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2013, at 4:09 PM, stardusterboy wrote:

    I believe Obamacare will fail. I think it was designed to fail, and the rescue will be for the government to take over the system with a single payer system that Europe has. The single payer system is very expensive and requires a tax rate in the 50% range much like most of Europe. This would be unpaletable for the american public, so they came up with Obamacare as a stepping stone to get there. We'll see how "affordable" Obamacare really is

  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2013, at 4:12 PM, sabebrush6 wrote:

    Government Stimulus-

    Three contractors are bidding to fix a broken fence at the White House.

    One is from New York, another is from New Jersey, and the third is from D.C.

    All three go with an official to examine the fence. The New York contractor takes out a tape measure and does some measuring, then works some figures with a pencil.

    "Well," he says, "I figure the job will run about $900. That’s $400 for materials, $400 for my crew and $100 profit for me."

    The New Jersey contractor also does some measuring and figuring, then says, "I can do this job for $700. That's $300 for materials, $300 for my crew and $100 profit for me."

    The D.C. contractor doesn't measure or figure, but leans over to the government official and whispers, "$2,700."

    The official, incredulous, says, "You didn't even measure like the other guys. How did you come up with such a high figure?"

    The D.C. contractor whispers back, "$1000 for me, $1000 for you, and we hire the guy from New Jersey to fix the fence."

    "Done!" Replies the government official.

    And that, my fellow tax payers, is how a Government Stimulus plan works."

  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2013, at 4:23 PM, stevetimeshare wrote:

    @doco177 - what a raving bunch of garbage.

    1) Your statement is straight out of the talking points of Rush Limbaugh. There is nothing being added under Obamacare to my insurance that My employer was not already paying to provide in my policy. The cost next year is expected to go up by less than 10% - far less than the average over the past 10 years without your dreaded Obamacare.

    2) Article after article from Obamacare haters say the cost of premiums will explode, or already have done so. But then they can't explain why the average premium went up by far less than 10% in the last year. Ignore the facts if they don't support your arguments.

    3) You had the exact same report a year ago when Obamacaare had yet started, and Republicans expected to take over the Senate and repeal the law. This is fear for fears sake - not facts based on actual actions.

    4) You contradict yourself in that Obamacare is not government run, it is run by private insurance companies, who are required to comply with governemnt issued rules, just as they have for decaded. These companies are just as capable of performing under the new regulations, as they were under the old. This is Capitalizm man - they will find a way to make the systems work.

    5) Fifth line and you finally got one right - there will be taxes on the average middle class worker - assuming any such person still exists. Your premiums that are paid by your employer will indeed be taxable after 2014 - But then again - your argument is that they will drop the coverage - so you won't have any premiums to be taxed.

    6) The medical industry has been passing on costs that don't even exist for decades. There are countless examples of companies that take medications that cost $20 and charging $1200 for them. Just look to see what you pay for an asprin or a bandage in the hospitlal. So how is this any different from the current status quoe?

    7) Only those who do not currently have insurence will need to apply for the new policies. And likely those will be no harder than the current applications. My son is not elligible to be on my insurence, so I tried to get him coverage on the private market. The applications were insanely complicated. I don't expect the new applications to be any harder - and they will have to quote a price, rather than deny him coverage because of his preexisting condition.

    8) Stupid employers who are listening to the likes of you and doing dumb things. Like the owner of Papa John's who said he would make all his workers part time to avoid the staggering cost of Obamacare. But when the accountants got done figuring the increase - it came to about 25 cents on a $15 pizza.

    9) Your number is what the CBO says it will cost over 35 years. But you intentionally make it sound like this is short term cost.

    10) So even though only 15% of Americans don't have health care - you want 20% to refuse the new insurace policies - which are provided by private insurance companies. Really?

  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2013, at 4:24 PM, airjackie wrote:

    As Romney said if you want affordable healthcare live in Mass. 2007 Romney announced he would bring his healthcare as Federal law. Well he lost in 2007 and Ted Kennedy took the plan to Obama. Now with racial hate and the losers the need to end health care and fair insurance premiums to the people. Sick people don't care they just want help. But some put hate ahead of common sense.

  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2013, at 4:25 PM, Dignolita wrote:

    What this reflects is that insurance carriers simply don't want to compete. They way they create groups by time, by age, by location from county to county are all designed to eliminate competition and make sure the customer, the insured gets screwed.

    What this really means is that despite the Republican desire for competition there will be no competition until the public option is available. Given that insurance companies generally process claims for 18% of income, Medicare, the only public option currently available, processes the same claim for 4%. That difference is used to pay executives hundreds of millions of dollars with no benefit to the insured.

  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2013, at 4:26 PM, rw93003 wrote:

    someone said, "If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert there would soon be shortage of sand."

  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2013, at 4:26 PM, michaelwcrosby wrote:

    No, this does not defeat the purpose of Obamacare. The whole point of Obamacare is to make it seem like the private insurance market cannot be competetive so that the socialists on the left (i.e., Democrats) can take the big prize of single-payer.

  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2013, at 4:31 PM, stevetimeshare wrote:

    For the past 35 years, I have had health insurance through my employer. It is reasonably good insurance, and has served my family well. Every year when we signed up for our "group" plan, we were told by the major insurance providers, that the premiums we were paying included about 10% extra to pay for all the uninsured people who show up at the hospitals. The hospital can not lose money, so they calculate the price they charge the insurance company based on everyone, and not just those who have that companies insurance.

    Haven't most of us heard that story over time?

    So where is the saving from having all those freeloaders being insured? I have not seen a single article where they said that savings from having everyone insured was XXX.

    So my insurance is not offering any added coverage, since it already pays for everything that Obamacare was adding. And the 10% cost from uninsured should be gone since everyone should now be insured.

    So why isn't my premium either staying the same or going down?

  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2013, at 4:54 PM, jellie123 wrote:

    For all the bloggers who state Government can't do anything right in regards to healthcare...if you only knew how great Medicare is and how well run it is - the only time government doesn't do well is when you put unqualified people in the position like 'good job Brownie' when Katrina happened...anyway, we need single payor healthcare like other countries - in a single payor system, if you want more coverage, you can choose a supplement as in Israel or have your own private doctor....we are a backward nation...you are all screaming what a bad idea Obamacare is but you would rather continue to pull money out of your pocket to pay for others who don't have insurance...you know you can go online and check out the Affordable Healthcare Act - I doubt if you are listening to FOX you are getting the right info....

  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2013, at 5:01 PM, jellie123 wrote:

    to Stevetimeshare - FYI Obamacare isn't fully implemented as yet - next October...

  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2013, at 5:08 PM, RetiredCalif wrote:

    As one of the 49,000 affected, I will be losing my Aetna insurance this January. I'm not nostalgic about losing Aetna per se, but rather I'm miffed that my choices are limited to the state's prescribed plans, and I am being forced to purchase an "upgraded" plan with more coverage that I don't need. I have no doubt my premiums be more than 50% higher per month (per the estimates on the exchange site).

    The ACA sounds like a good thing until something like this happens to you.

    You now buy what the state tells you to buy, and your choice of carriers is curtailed.

    I do not expect the remaining insurers on the CA exchange to offer competitive rates. They'll all look fairly similar for a given plan.

    If anything their rates will be on the high side to account for the increased costs of insuring those with pre-existing conditions. And the insurers won't need to compete much on price, since their business is virtually guaranteed by this law.

    Right now, the side effects of the ACA look negative, if not downright harmful.

  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2013, at 5:22 PM, holmesj181 wrote:

    it makes no sense that your employer should have any part in determining your healthcare/insurer. it also is against the insured's best interest to be with a for-profit insurer.

  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2013, at 5:28 PM, Baxter1939 wrote:

    An article “What Sweden Can Tell Us About Obamacare” by Robert H Frank, . he is an economics professor at the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell. He was trying to make a point of how Sweden health care is much better and less costly then the USA. He points out that the USA spends more than $8,000 per person on health care and Sweden spends less than half of that. However, he does not say anything about the Doctor and Nurses being paid by the Swedish Government and with several years of experience Doctors make $92,000 per year and Nurses $50,000 per year; and new graduates make much less. Does this have anything to do with the difference in health care cost?

    He make a point about “males between the age of 15 & 60 are almost twice as likely to die in any given year.” Death rate for “Road Traffic Accidents” is 0.61% in Sweden vs 2.17% in USA; and deaths due to “Violence” is 0.11% in Sweden vs 0.92% in USA.. Both of these types of deaths have little to do with basic health care and greatly affect the males 15 to 60 years of age. This also affect the life expectancy tables.

    He also make a point about lifestyle, “Sweden, workers are more likely to commute by bicycle then by car…” This may have something to do with only 520 vehicles per 1000 people in Sweden, where there 797 vehicles per 1000 people in the USA. He also makes a point about “…more hip-replacement operations are performed per capita in Sweden than in most other countries…” This may have something to do with wearing out there hips from having to ride the dam bicycle to work every day because they cannot afford a car. I’ve mentioned the Doctor and Nurse pay earlier, but here some others; Lawyer $74,000, Pilot $87,000, Broker $63,000, Psychologist $51,000, IT Professional $55,000, Painter $42,000. These pay levels look a little low when considering USA pay rates, but there more to the story. In Sweden there “COMPULSONY DEDUCTIONS” on all workers regards of pay level; example, 31.0% for a single with no child, 23.7% for a single with two children; 31.0% for a one-earner married couple with no child, and 23.7% for a one-earner married couple with two children. That part of the reasons they cannot afford a car and are riding them dam bicycles and wearing out their hips.

    In looking at the top 53 causes of Death, they are in order of percentage in Sweden. “Coronary Heart Disease” is the leading cause of death in Sweden at 24.15% with it only being 21.42% in the USA. Those dam bicycles are not doing them any good. Out of 53 causes of death covering the top 50 of Sweden and the USA, Sweden has the highest percentage in 29 of the 53 with the USA being the highest in 23 of the 53, with a even tie on “Liver Cancer”. In looking “ Life Expectancy by Age” when we reach age 70 we’ll out living them Swedes, due to our existing better health care in the USA.

    I believe Obamacare was a bad misstate. When you are looking down the top 50 causes of death in Sweden and the USA, you will see that Sweden health care does not do well with health issues such as, Heart Disease, Stroke or the various Cancers. Obamacare will not either, cause these health issues or very expensive and that health board will have to try and control costs..

  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2013, at 5:44 PM, Fight4Justice wrote:

    If it is truly a national health care program, the government should advise Aetna that it is ALL or Nothing. No medicare, no other states, no individual. That would get their attention and a quick apology from the CEO. I believe it is time to tighten the participation requirements and I don't think plans should differ by state. Make it a National plan, end of story.

  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2013, at 5:47 PM, Fight4Justice wrote:

    The biggest problem in this country is that Corporate America is telling the government what it can do instead of the government setting the requirements.

  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2013, at 6:01 PM, peterwolf wrote:

    Defeat it?? Are you kidding?? The fact that Aetna is fleeing California is viewed as a 'twofer' win by Obamacare supporters.

    a) The liberals in California, who hate all businesses, see it as one less 'evil' private company.

    b) The liberals overall who supported Obamacare see it as proof that eventually ALL private insurers will exit the business and leave it to the government.

    That is their REAL objective.

  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2013, at 6:20 PM, BayAreaBill1 wrote:

    If I were CEO of a health insurance company, the last thing I'd want to do is to put myself at the mercy and meddlesome interference of the Federal and California governments. The CA health insurance exchange does just this. I'd just skim the cream off of group health and Medicare Supplemental markets and totally avoid individual health care, where actuarial cost analysis and common sense have been totally destroyed by Federal fiat.

  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2013, at 6:25 PM, NEMO8 wrote:

    OMG...sometimes I can't believe the comments I see written about healthcare reform....I've worked in the insurance industry over 20 years and see the concern and worry that many ordinary folks have about all the changes that are forth coming. It's alarming when articles are written by those who do not understand the industry dynamics that are playing out and have been in play even before Obamacare, hit the streets...There has been massive consolidation under all the MAJOR Health Insurers for over 10 years, i.e. United, Aetna, Coventry, Cigna, etc...and Aetna and United have been front runners acquiring the middle market insurer for years. What Obamacare has done is to shine the spotlight on this activity.

    What this article speaks to today is so common place in the insurance industry and how insurers react in a climate in which they are less competitive for a specific product than the competition and that is to exit the market for that specific product.

    Trust me the 49,000 Aetna members are not going to be left without an insurance option in California due to Aetna's exit for this product. There are 4 other MAJOR players who are waiting there and will pick that membership right up and keep things moving. That's day to day business in the health insurance industry and it has been this way for a very long time.

    It's very confusing and frustrating for the consumer and it's very disconcerting when people try to put a political twist on what's going on with Healthcare. If Obomacare is cancelled tomorrow, Insurance Companies will still buy and sell each other and enter and exit markets based on the profitability of the products they are marketing in any given Market.

    Get the facts and don't get caught up in the opinions...Do your own homework and don't just repeat what others say and then form your opinion from the facts and not misunderstandings...

    Happy Monday!

  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2013, at 7:04 PM, RetiredCalif wrote:

    Nemo8: Sure, the other 4 major players can hardly wait to pick up Aetna's former customers. But for me, that will mean buying a policy with more coverage than I need at a price that's most likely >50% more than what I am paying now. This is the reality for many of us.

  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2013, at 7:06 PM, Richsurfin wrote:

    Q: How do you destroy the best health care system in the world?

    A: ObamaCare - a unAmerican, anti-freedom, IRS/KGB gov't controlled guaranteed progressive DISASTER!

  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2013, at 7:12 PM, mjaore wrote:

    No ACAct will survive and become an everlasting law. The Republicans and corporate America tried evey possible way to sabotage Social Security from 1937 to 1940 and likewise so it will be with AHA, but it will survive!

  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2013, at 8:33 PM, daverhall wrote:

    The insurance companies will tell every one something to pacify. Then they will complain when anything like Obama care comes along as that may curtail their profit margin. They have constantly overcharged government and customers alike and believe that is totally OK. Their increases over the years have gone up and up dramacically each year. There are many people who have no medical insurance and many hospitals refuse them care. Others will follow; Aetna Insurance as they are set on big fast profit and bonuses, and it will get much worse. Greed has taken over their hearts. I do not know if this new health care will work, but it would be nice.

  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2013, at 9:16 PM, spintreebob wrote:

    In 1947 the left/unions imposed the employer linked IRS enforced system despite no more relationship between healthcare and employers than for food, housing or auto insurance.

    The left's monstrosity became ever more complex and unworkable. Rather than admit a mistake, they doubled down.

    The only healthcare program that makes sense is to allow the free market to work, which it has not been allowed to do for many decades.

  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2013, at 9:50 PM, healthprof1 wrote:

    Obamacare is destined to fail. First, the big insurers are the only ones that can compete and many of them are choosing not to do so.

    Second, many employers are now only hiring part-time (under 30 hours/week) to avoid participating.

    Third, when the general public figures out it is cheaper to pay the IRS penalty tax and use the ER like all of our Medicaid recipients, game over.

  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2013, at 10:15 PM, WNBE wrote:

    06-17-2013 The annuity writers, underwriters, insurance brokers and insurance agents, plus the rest of the insurance systems for B&C packages has dropped or denied masses of employees at will. So why should the get rewarded for doing the same. Besides, large employers split with them on most benefits they discourage employees from realizing or using. Doctors to hospitals have raised and raised again their expenses in response to insurance companies, too. Nothing has an infinite tolerance of abuses. To save and protect health and lives is not a domain of independent insurance companies, and neither is protesting changes insurance companies actually do not control -- finally. So Aetna is leaving like A&P East, Westinghouse, Bendix, etc. who paid the insurance companies for nothing. So What? If companies and their employees banded together or self-insured as one, cutting out insurance salesman to the underwriter, they could lower insurance premiums by 40% to 60% and use the change to support SSA, SSI, SSDI,...as well as government employee and veterans programs. So how much truth behind the ObamaCare program is going to come out. Aetna is not going out of business, they are just shifting their target markets and annuity programs elsewhere. (WNBE)

  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2013, at 10:24 PM, johngonole wrote:

    Single Payers Systems don't work because they destroy the marketplace. In a single payer system the only payer unilaterally decides what they will pay for goods and services. This inevitably causes shortages and oversupplies. A single payer system is a monopoly. Almost everyone is in agreement that monopolies are very bad for the consumer. They fail to see the single payer system as the monopoly it will be. It will fail and their will be shortages in our healthcare system the same way their are shortages of toilet paper in Venezuala.

    Those who refuse to believe this are either ignorant of history or insane. If a single payer system comes to pass I'm hoping the USA will devide permanently. I'll go with the free markets. In 75 years it will be like North Korea and South Korea. Again ignore economic history at your own peril.

  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2013, at 10:29 PM, Noshirt wrote:

    Aetna's decision to pull out demonstrates why we need strong national regulation of insurance companies. In 1944, the Supreme Court held that insurance was engaged in interstate commerce and subject to federal regulation, but the insurance companies got their buddies in Congress to pass the McCarran Act, so that the states could regulate them. The insurance companies prefer to play the 50 state insurance commissioners off against each other. Some states, like New York and Wisconsin, do a good job regulating them, while others do not.

  • Report this Comment On June 18, 2013, at 12:35 AM, Cloudnine57 wrote:

    All I know is that I work full time simply for my health benefits. I am a commission worker and can make as much money being part time as I can full time. If it ends up that I can go part time and make as much as I do and get health care through the government, I am going to do it! Already, we are losing part time employes at my company due to reduced hours (under 28). I will wait and see, but I am not going to work full time just to pay higher premiums for reduced benefits! United Health Care let us full time employees know last year that changes were coming. The way I look at it is that I would be working full time and paying high premiums for reduced benefits and paying higher taxes for those who don't work or work part time. I might as well join them!

  • Report this Comment On June 18, 2013, at 12:35 AM, ERinsured wrote:

    Q: How do you destroy the best health care system in the world????? the poor has to depend on ER !! what world you from?

  • Report this Comment On June 18, 2013, at 1:41 AM, BERTHACRACKER wrote:

    Just expand Medicaid for all.

    The Obama Care Law is still too complicated to really understand. It still seems to favor big insurance profit making health insurers.

    Medicaid is already in place and can be tweaked to help everyone who needs health coverage.

  • Report this Comment On June 18, 2013, at 7:54 AM, pebear wrote:

    I'm a contractor / consultant working for large fortune 500 companies. The insurance my agency offers is expensive, as I pay the full cost of the group policy and the coverage sucks beyond belief. I have been looking at the exchanges when they open up but I don't think I would even end up with anything better than the crap insurance I have now. God forbid I come down with cancer or have a heart attack because that would probably kill me under the weight of the high medical bills that I could never afford.

  • Report this Comment On June 19, 2013, at 1:55 PM, bobschu wrote:

    subjecting health care to competition has always been an unhealthy idea. It leads to companies like Health Net giving bonuses to its agents for denying claims. The most important condition for competition is not met. The consumer cannot "choose" not to have health care. Private insurers are siphoning off 33% of health care spending just for overhead, which is why the US has mediocre health care for the highest expenditure in the world. The idea of exchanges is just the latest in a series of bad compromises with the private "health" industry. Take a look at "private" medicare drug insurance. Mine routinely requires me to do things that would be fatal if I did them.

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