Aetna and Humana could merge by the end of the year. Another example of a health care system that appears to be searching for a way to cope.
Health care costs in the United States are plaguing both consumers and providers alike with the latest illustration of the trend coming from Aetna. In its second-quarter earnings filing Opens a New Window. , the insurance provider said it will pull out of planned 2017 expansion into Affordable Care Act exchanges.
The move came after announcements earlier this year from UnitedHealth and Humana, which also announced plans to cut back on ACA exchange participation next year.
Aetna, the nation’s third-largest health insurer behind UnitedHealth and Anthem, sells Obamacare plans in 15 states. The company has been hurt by the high cost of medications and procedures for customers in the exchanges.
Earlier this month, Aetna and Humana agreed to sell certain Medicare Advantage assets to Molina Healthcare Opens a New Window. . This comes after the two companies proposed a merger in late July. However, the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit last month in an attempt to stop Aetna’s takeover of Humana, saying the merger would create an anti-competitive environment. The DOJ filed a related suit to stop Anthem’s takeover of Cigna.
In the meantime, if other major U.S. health care providers decide to reevaluate their Obamacare exchange participation, more troubles may be on the horizon for customers.
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