A second insurance company announced it would be withdrawing its proposal to join the inaugural year of Connecticut’s health insurance exchange in 2014.
Aetna, the Hartford-based insurance company headquartered on Farmington Avenue not far from the state Capitol, withdrew its application to participate in the exchange’s individual market on Friday.
“We have spent considerable time identifying those states in which we can be competitive and add the most value to the market,” Bruce Campbell, Aetna’s senior actuary, wrote in this letter Friday. “As a result of our analysis, we have reluctantly concluded that we will withdraw our Individual Exchange filings in Connecticut for 2014.”
Cost was a driving factor for the insurance company, which covers about 32,000 people currently in Connecticut’s individual marketplace. According to the filings on the state Insurance Department’s website, the state continued to ask Aetna for information about how their rates were developed and the company continued to push back, refusing to budge on certain factors such as annual trends and risk adjustments used to build the rates.
“Unfortunately, we believe the modifications to the rates filed by Aetna will not allow us to collect enough premiums to cover the cost of the plans and meet the service expectations of our customers,” Susan G. Millerick, a spokeswoman for Aetna, said Monday.
It did not rule out participating in future years and will continue to offer its plans outside the exchange, according to Campbell’s letter
“Please be assured this is not a step taken lightly, and was made as part of a national review of our exchange strategy,” Campbell wrote in his withdrawal letter. “We recognize there are many unknowns for all of us in this environment and we sincerely appreciate all of the hard work you and your team have put into making the Connecticut Exchange a success.”
Aetna is the second insurance company to withdraw from the exchange. ConnectiCare Benefits was the first to withdraw from the small group market, but unlike Aetna it will participate in the individual market. That leaves three companies: ConnectiCare Benefits, HealthyCT, and Anthem in the individual market. Three companies: Anthem, HealthyCT, and UnitedHealthcare will also participate in the small group market.
The health insurance exchange, called Access Health CT in Connecticut, is a virtual marketplace where individuals and small businesses will be able to purchase coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Enrollment begins on Oct. 1 and the plans take effect on Jan. 1, 2014.
Connecticut’s Insurance Department has not finished its rate review for the plans participating in the exchange.
Access Health CT CEO Kevin Counihan said even though Aetna has withdrawn Connecticut’s exchange will continue to retain “a broad number of choices.”
“The good news today is that consumers and businesses will retain several, high quality choices, and today’s decision also shows we at AHCT are doing our best to hold rates down,” said Counihan. “Our goal is clear: we want to bring affordable, quality health care to Connecticut’s residents and small businesses.”
If anything Aetna’s exit from the exchange shows how hard the state is working to reduce rates for consumers.
“The bottom line is that this is a business decision by Aetna that changes nothing for Connecticut consumers and businesses,” Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman, who co-chairs the Exchange Board, said. “People will still be able to choose from a very comprehensive range of quality, affordable coverage options offered through AHCT.”