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Health Law Expert’s Dire Obamacare Warning: 'Something Has to Give\


"Either insurers will drop out or insurers will raise premiums."

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Many health insurance companies are issuing warnings at increasing rates about Obamacare's financial sustainability in the marketplace after several major companies dropped out of the plans this year.

Some insurers say that their companies are losing money at alarming rates through the plans instituted under the Affordable Care Act, according to The Hill. Others have begun discussing whether or not they should drop out of the marketplaces altogether.

"Something has to give," said Larry Levitt, an expert on the health law at the Kaiser Family Foundation, according to The Hill. "Either insurers will drop out or insurers will raise premiums."

Photo Credit: Shutterstock Photo Credit: Shutterstock

These insurers have been expressing their concerns over Obamacare's pricing, as well as the likelihood that those companies who are losing substantial amounts of revenue may push for substantial premium increases, The Hill reported. Some have even been predicting that a "death spiral" will result if the market begins to collapse, causing increasing concerns for Democrats during a crucial election cycle.

"The industry is clearly setting the stage for bigger premium increases in 2017," Levitt continued. "What we're likely to see is more of a market correction than any kind of death spiral. There are enough people enrolled at this point that the market is sustainable. The premiums were just too low."

Concerns continued to rise after UnitedHealth Group Inc., one of the largest health insurers in the U.S., opted out of Obamacare markets in Georgia and Arkansas this month, according to Bloomberg. Both UnitedHealth and Aetna Inc. revealed that they had suffered losses last year due to the ACA's policies, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield revealed that they had suffered losses in states such as North Carolina that same year.

"We continue to have serious concerns about the sustainability of the public exchanges," Mark Bertolini, the CEO of Aetna, had said back in February, according to The Hill.

But some companies still maintain that these negative early responses to Obamacare were expected and do not indicate that the whole system is doomed to failure.

"As with any new market, we expect changes and adjustments in the early years with issuers both entering and exiting states," said Aaron Albright, a spokesman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Bloomberg reported. "The marketplace is a reliable source of coverage for millions of Americans with a robust number of plan choices."

Follow Kathryn Blackhurst (@kablackhurst) on Twitter

Front-page image via Shutterstock

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