17 June 2013
Obamacare is coming! Obamacare is coming! And Aetna is calling it quits... for individuals at least. Why leave California, the state where 20% of all residents lack insurance, especially when the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) mandates everyone get coverage by 2014? Isn't that the business equivalent of boarding up Olvera St. in Los Angeles on May 4th or burning a rose garden before Valentine's?
In 2010, the same year the census ranked California 10th in states with the most uninsured residents, the president signed a landmark healthcare law that requires insurance companies offer better plans with new benefits starting October 1st, 2013. These plans go into effect on January 1st, 2014. The goal was to create a more competitive environment for carriers to sell affordable insurance with the stipulation that new plans have 10 Essential Health Benefits and consumers can purchase them with subsidies (tax credits), essentially lowering the cost.
These plans will be sold through a marketplace called an Exchange and by insurance agents who will help navigate the paperwork. This fall, each state must operate its own Exchange with a clever name. In our state it's called Covered California. 13 major carriers drafted new plans for the Exchange, including the country's biggest publicly operated, L.A. Care Health Plan. However, Aetna declined to join the party.
Considering Aetna owns a meager 5% of the market in California's individual health insurance, even their spokesperson admits they can't compete with upcoming, more affordable plans offered by rivals in the Exchange like Anthem and Kaiser Permanente. Aetna says all individuals' plans will remain in effect until December 31st, 2013, unless you'd like to terminate yours early. If you're a current Aetna client, feel free to call us at 818.251.5000 to find a better carrier who won't move away.