Amid financial losses, insurers see promise in marketplace plans

Despite concerns surrounding profitability and stability--which prompted the nation's largest insurer to drop out of some state exchanges--many payers view marketplace plans with promise, according to a report released by The Commonwealth Fund.

Through the first quarter of 2016, earnings among the country's five largest health insurers have varied, with some companies seeing year-over-year losses as high as 46 percent. Financial losses linked to Affordable Care Act plans prompted UnitedHealthcare to pull out of all but a few state exchanges.

However, according to The Commonwealth Fund, several other major insurers, including Anthem, Aetna and Molina, remain committed to the state exchanges thanks to higher than expected enrollment along with a healthier mix of patients. Although some insurers have been forced to adjust plans or pricing to make up financial losses, many did not expect to see significant profit margins on exchange plans within the first several years.

"Recent insurer investor calls and filings place United's market moves in context, and remind us that the insurance industry doesn't have a monolithic perspective on the marketplaces," the report states.

Moving forward, insurers have called for better plan flexibility, changes to the risk adjustment program and tighter special enrollment period restrictions.

For more:
- read The Commonwealth Fund report