Aetna will completely exit ACA exchanges in 2018

exit sign
Aetna will not participate in any of the Affordable Care Act exchange markets next year.

As of next year, Aetna is officially done with Affordable Care Act exchanges.

The insurer, which had pulled out of the exchanges in all but four states this year, had already said that it would not participate in one of those states, Iowa, in 2018, and later confirmed that it would also exit Virginia. Executives also indicated during the insurer’s first-quarter earnings call that there could be more exits coming.

On Wednesday evening, company spokesman T.J. Crawford confirmed that prediction, saying Aetna would also pull out of the remaining states, Delaware and Nebraska, in 2018, and thus has “completely exited the exchanges.” 

Crawford said Aetna’s individual commercial products lost nearly $700 million between 2014 and 2016, adding that they’re projected to lose more than $200 million in 2017 despite a significant reduction in membership. 

“Those losses are the result of marketplace structural issues that have led to CO-OP failures and carrier exits, and subsequent risk pool deterioration,” he said.

Aetna is not the only large U.S. health insurer to call it quits on the exchanges for 2018. Humana announced earlier this year that it would not offer any individual market plans next year, either on-exchange or off-exchange.

Insurers that tentatively plan to participate in the ACA marketplaces next year, meanwhile, have filed early rate proposals in some states seeking steep premium increases.

Despite such troubling signs for the exchanges, recent analyses from Standard & Poor’s and Kaiser Family Foundation have suggested that insurers’ financial performance in the individual markets showed signs of stabilizing next year. Still, both reports noted that disruptive policy changes could erase those gains.

Editor's note: This article has been updated to clarify that Aetna had previously confirmed it would exit Virginia.