In another ironic turn, yet another health insurance provider has withdrawn from President Obama’s federal health insurance marketplace, marking the latest in a long line of companies whose bottom line has suffered thanks to plans offered on the exchanges.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska decided to pull its plans offered on the federal marketplace after taking major financial losses, announcing the move just hours before the deadline for insurance providers to decide whether to offer plans on the exchange. According to the World-Herald:
The decision by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska to leave the Affordable Care Act’s individual insurance marketplace may awaken officials to the need for change, the head of the state’s largest health insurer said Friday.
If not, said Blue Cross CEO Steve Martin, there’s no end in sight for the losses that he said forced the Omaha-based insurance company to remove itself from the exchange for 2017, only hours before the deadline to stay or leave.
The report stated that while Blue Cross’s exchange policies only apply to about 20,000 of their 750,000 total customers, those plans have cost the insurance company $140 million in the last two years. The World-Herald added:
If Blue Cross remained in the market, it estimated that the loss could reach $250 million by the end of 2017.
According to the report, Blue Cross added that “for each dollar collected on the ACA marketplace, Blue Cross has paid out $1.56 in claims, which drove its overall expense to $1.01 per $1, missing its profit goal.”
Interestingly, the report comes just one day after the Obama administration launched a taxpayer-funded ad campaign – completely with obligatory hashtags – targeting millennials, whose Obamacare enrollment numbers have consistently failed to hit the administration’s target of 40 percent of total sign-ups. The president’s signature health care law depends the funds paid by young, healthy people to offset the costs of insuring older folks, but the administration has so far failed to convince the crucial number of 18-to-34-year-olds to sign up on the exchange.
Obamacare hasn’t exactly kept up appearances with the overall public, either. Eleven percent of Americans remain without health insurance six years into the law (and a full two years into the individual mandate). On top of that, a recent poll found more Americans say Obamacare has actually hurt as opposed to help their families.
Insurers themselves have found it increasingly more difficult to offer plans on the exchange, with many taking major financial hits. Aetna announced in August it would be scaling back participation in the marketplace by more than 70 percent. Healthspan, a Cleveland-based company, left the exchange in December after taking some serious losses. A month before that, United Healthcare, the largest insurer in the nation, scaled back its exchange plans after losing half a billion dollars on the exchange.