Aetna to stop selling individual health plans in Iowa

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Aetna said Thursday that it will stop selling individual health insurance policies in Iowa, just days after Wellmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield made a similar announcement.

Tens of thousands of Iowa residents who aren’t insured through an employer or the government are currently covered by the individual policies Aetna will stop selling, the Des Moines Register reported.

Like Wellmark, Aetna cited instability in the insurance market. Aetna had already had stopped selling such policies in most states for 2017, citing turmoil surrounding the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as “Obamacare.”

Most of Aetna’s individual Iowa customers were originally on plans sold by Coventry, which Aetna bought in 2013.

Only one other insurer, the relatively small Minnesota carrier Medica, currently sells individual policies in most Iowa counties.

The decisions by Aetna and Wellmark will sharply curtail choices for Iowans who want to buy insurance plans that could qualify for federal subsidies under the Affordable Care Act. Medica could be the only choice for individual policies in Iowa for 2018, and the company declined to declare its intentions.

Iowa Insurance Commissioner Doug Ommen said he’s worried no carriers will want to offer individual policies in Iowa for next year.

“It’s a very difficult and unstable market,” he said.

Aetna said it had not decided whether to pull out of the three remaining states where it sells individual policies: Nebraska, Delaware and Virginia.

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