(Adds CEO quote on rate increase range)
June 11 Health insurer Aetna Inc is
submitting premium rates to regulators for Obamacare insurance
plans for 2015 that generally increase less than 20 percent from
2014, its Chief Executive Officer Mark Bertolini said on
"We have rates that are in the zero category. On average,
it's in the low double digits, as a rate increase across the
population," Bertolini said.
Bertolini's comments, made during a Goldman Sachs healthcare
conference outside Los Angeles, come as insurers prepare next
year's health plans for the insurance exchanges created under
the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.
About 8 million people have signed up for these plans, which
are provided by commercial subscribers and come with
income-based government subsidies.
While Aetna and other insurers say they have lost money
providing these plans this year, insurers are expanding into new
markets for 2015 to capture a growing customer base.
Bertolini said about half the rate of increases the insurer
has submitted for 2015 were due to changes in Obamacare.
Over the past year, President Barack Obama's administration
has made such changes to the law as allowing some plans that had
been due to phase out this year to remain in place. That has
changed some of the assumptions that determine premium rates.
Bertolini had predicted rate increases along these lines in
April when he announced the company's first quarter earnings
In addition, the company expects about 450,000 exchange
customers at year end, in line with his previous outlook,
Bertolini said during the presentation to investors.
Aetna is one of the largest players on the exchanges, along
with WellPoint Inc.
Bertolini said the 2014 outlook takes into account that
Aetna customers were disenrolling from exchange plans on a
regular basis. While he didn't know why they were leaving, he
suspected it was due to out-of-pocket costs before members reach
(Reporting by Caroline Humer in New York; Editing by Chris
Reese, Bernadette Baum and Bernard Orr)