Dec 12 Aetna Inc's CEO said on Thursday
that the time frame is too short for the U.S. health insurer to
go through the regulatory processes it needs to reinstate or
extend canceled health plans and that it will not be doing so.
CEO Mark Bertolini made the comments at an investor meeting
where he gave an update on how the insurer is affected by the
U.S. Affordable Care Act.
Last month, President Barack Obama said that insurers could
extend these health plans under a temporary transitional policy
that allowed canceled plans to be reinstated and extended into
2015 whether they complied with the ACA or not.
Obama made the policy change after hundreds of thousands of
individuals received notices that their plans were being
canceled. The cancellations became a political issue because
Obama had promised Americans that if they liked their plan, they
could keep it.
Aetna said, however, that it has offered early renewals on
plans, which allow consumers to keep their coverage for up to a
year longer and into late 2014.
"We talked to the insurance commissioners and the insurance
commissioners have agreed with us. If we were to go to all those
states, refile all those plans, refile all those rates and do it
in time for Dec. 23, we would have paid attention to nothing
else," Bertolini said.
Consumers must decide whether to buy plans on the exchanges
by Dec. 23 for coverage to start on Jan. 1, 2014.
Aetna is offering plans in 16 states, which means it covers
about 30 percent of the exchange marketplace. The exchanges,
created under the Affordable Care Act, opened on Oct. 1 to sell
plans for 2014. Technology problems have hobbled the ability of
consumers to sign up and highlighted the cancellation issue.
Aetna said it expects to gain customers in only about 15
percent of the marketplaces where it is priced the most
Bertolini said he expects the public exchanges, which are
under attack by Republicans, to survive the technology issues.
"By 2015, if we get it fixed right, it'll be a new start,"