Aetna adds Virginia to list of Obamacare exits for 2018

A trader points up at a display on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange August 20, 2012. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Health insurer Aetna Inc said on Wednesday it will not sell Obamacare individual insurance plans in Virginia next year, a move it attributed to “growing uncertainty” in the market and $200 million in expected losses on the business this year.

Aetna, which had already sharply curtailed its 2017 participation in this marketplace to cover just four states, said last month that it would leave Iowa. It has not yet announced its plans for Nebraska or Delaware.

It announced its decision on Virginia as Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives worked to try to bring new healthcare legislation to a vote. President Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans in Congress have pledged to overturn and replace the Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare.

Insurers say they cannot plan amid the uncertainty over future legislation and the prospect for continued government payments, called cost-sharing reduction subsidies, in 2017 and 2018.

Aetna said on Tuesday that it was considering reducing its exposure to the loss-making Obamacare individual business, in which it has a total of 255,000 customers. The number of its Virginia customers was not immediately available.

Virginia’s insurance regulator has a May 3 midnight deadline for insurers to submit premium rates for 2018. Aetna was among nine insurers that had given preliminary indication to the department about selling individual plans in Virginia, a department spokesman said earlier on Wednesday.

Reporting by Caroline Humer; Editing by Frances Kerry