Aetna Flips the Script on Obamacare Policies


Listening to opponents of the Affordable Healthcare Act, one of the constant siren songs is all the insurers who are pulling out of the system. There have been a good many, and in several states, but none of them got the same buzz as did Aetna when the company announced it would be pulling out of certain states due to Obamacare.

Conservatives rejoiced, and liberals lamented. Story after story after story was written. Congressmen mailed letters to constituents with Aetna as a primary talking point. Turns out, though, at least some of the reactions may have been a bit premature. In an effort to shore up its hold on certain Medicaid money, Aetna has agreed to not separate from the Nevada exchange after all.

That said, the jury is still out as to whether or not Aetna will fully commit to the ACA exchanges in other states across the country. The decision will be mulled over the summer, as insurers can wait until September to formally announce whether they will have plans available on the exchanges or not. While they are expected to participate on the exchange, after receiving Medicaid contracts, that doesn’t dictate how much, where or to what extent.

And that uncertainty is certainly not apt to stop all the headlines being written by both sides of the argument. As long as readers and consumers are willing to vociferously line up on both sides of the argument on this issue, then there will be column inches filled to incite those conversations. And, in those discussions, both sides will continue to declare victory while compelling the brands involved to move closer to their camp.

While this is happening, the brands are trying to read their proverbial tea leaves. Where’s the prevailing wind taking this issue, and what should they do about it? Should they plan to pull out or go all in? At this point, most are trying to do both. In the exchanges in some states. Out in others … a little bit of both in some. It’s confusing for consumers who just want to be able to go to the doctor when they need to, and it’s frustrating for constituents who are trying to communicate their will to their elected officials.

Meanwhile, Congress is flirting with new laws to replace the ACA as well as changing regulations that impact the current law. Whatever happens, it appears it will be months before anything is decided … and that means months of fluctuating PR narratives everyone wants to control.

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