Aetna making cuts to ACA health care coverage plans

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HARTFORD—The health insurance giant Aetna announced Monday it will be cutting back two-thirds of its available coverage on the public exchange plans put in place under the Affordable Care Act.  The cuts will begin for the upcoming 2017 plan year.

Connecticut customers will not be impacted because the state's exchange uses Anthem and Connecticare policies, not Aetna.

The company said financial losses are forcing the decision. “Following a thorough business review and in light of a second-quarter pretax loss of $200 million and total pretax losses of more than $430 million since January 2014 in our individual products, we have decided to reduce our individual public exchange presence in 2017, which will limit our financial exposure moving forward," said Mark Bertolini, Aetna's Chairman and CEO.

The company also said their announcement of the cuts that 55% of the plan's customers were new in 2016, and individuals in need of high-cost care represented a larger share of members.

Public exchange plans are offered in conjunction with the state. Other insurance companies have made similar cuts in the last two years.

"As a strong supporter of public exchanges as a means to meet the needs of the uninsured, we regret having to make this decision," said Bertolini.

Aetna currently offers plans in 778 counties nationwide, but will reduce that to 242 counties for the 2017 plan year. It will maintain a presence in Delaware, Iowa, Nebraska and Virginia.

The company will communicate options to impacted members before the 2017 open enrollment period begins, and provide resources to assist them in transitioning to other plans as appropriate.

The announcement of these cutbacks come less than two weeks after Aetna, along with Anthem and Connecticare, proposed rate hikes for individual coverage plans that range between 24 and 27 percent.