Aetna Opts to Stay in Pa Health Insurance Exchange

In the weeks leading up to the launch of the health insurance exchange exchanges as part of Obamacare’s health insurance goals, Aetna (NYSE: AET) has dropped out of the exchanges in a handful of states. In most cases these exchanges have been in states where the federal government will run the program designed to help consumers make informed choices about purchasing health insurance. In a surprise move, Aetna’s spokesmansaidthat it will participate in Pennsylvania’s exchange,

In a Philadelphia Business Journal article, Aetna spokesman Walt Cherniak said that it would participate in exchanges in nine other states.

Our goal all along has been, in 2014, to participate in states where we think we can be the most competitive with other plans and deliver the greatest value,” Cherniak said. “Pennsylvania is an important state for us.

Among other states where it has applications on file are Florida, Arizona and Virginia. Earlier this month it dropped out of New Jersey’s exchange. It also decided against participating in Maryland, Ohio, Georgia, and Connecticut, where it’s headquarters are.

Health Insurance Exchanges were written into the Affordable Care Act with the goal of ensuring that everyone has health insurance and access to healthcare. The longterm goal is to reduce healthcare costs by emphasizing preventive care.

Aetnaacquired insurer Coventry earlier this year. It’s a low-cost payer that serves mostly Medicaid beneficiaries. In Pennsylvania, Aetna will offer either Aetna or Coventry plans in each county but not both.

Health Insurance Exchanges are scheduled to go live in states across the country October 1. But national payers have been skittish about committing to more than a few exchanges as federal and state-run programs continue to workout software kinks among other issues.

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