Aetna chief executive Mark Bertolini said Wednesday that the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges — the marketplaces where consumers can buy individual health coverage under President Obama’s signature health care law — are in a “death spiral.”
Bertolini’s remarks at the Wall Street Journal’s The Future of Healthcare event came a day after the official breakup of his company’s proposed merger with the health insurer Humana — a divorce that will cost Aetna a $1 billion breakup fee. It also came a day after Humana announced it would pull out of all of its remaining ACA exchanges for 2018, arguing that the risk pool was unbalanced because not enough healthy people were signing up for insurance compared to the number of sick people.
“That logic shows just how much the risk pool is deteriorating in the ACA and how poorly structured the funding mechanism and premium model is,” Bertolini said. “I think you will see a lot more withdrawals this year of plans.”