HARTFORD, Conn. – Aetna (NYSE: AET) Chairman and CEO Mark T. Bertolini made the following statement with regard to the company's 2017 participation in the Affordable Care Act individual public exchanges:
"Following a thorough business review and in light of a second-quarter pretax loss of $200 million and total pretax losses of more than $430 million since January 2014 in our individual products, we have decided to reduce our individual public exchange presence in 2017, which will limit our financial exposure moving forward. More than 40 payers of various sizes have similarly chosen to stop selling plans in one or more rating areas in the individual public exchanges over the 2015 and 2016 plan years, collectively exiting hundreds of rating areas in more than 30 states. As a strong supporter of public exchanges as a means to meet the needs of the uninsured, we regret having to make this decision.
"Providing affordable, high-quality health care options to consumers is not possible without a balanced risk pool. Fifty-five percent of our individual on-exchange membership is new in 2016, and in the second quarter we saw individuals in need of high-cost care represent an even larger share of our on-exchange population. This population dynamic, coupled with the current inadequate risk adjustment mechanism, results in substantial upward pressure on premiums and creates significant sustainability concerns.
"The vast majority of payers have experienced continued financial stress within their individual public exchange business due to these forces, which also are reported to have contributed to the failure of 16 out of 23 co-ops. We are encouraged by a recent announcement that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will explore new options to modify the risk adjustment program, and remain hopeful that we can work with policymakers from both parties on a sustainable public exchange model that meets the needs of the uninsured.
"We are committed to a health care marketplace that gives every American the opportunity to access affordable, high-quality care. We will continue to evaluate our participation in individual public exchanges while gaining additional insight from the counties where we will maintain our presence, and may expand our footprint in the future should there be meaningful exchange-related policy improvements."
Aetna will reduce its individual public exchange participation from 778 to 242 counties for the 2017 plan year, maintaining an on-exchange presence in Delaware, Iowa, Nebraska and Virginia. The company will continue to offer an off-exchange individual product option for 2017 to consumers in the vast majority of counties where it offered individual public exchange products in 2016.
This decision does not impact Aetna's products, services or benefits for the 2016 plan year. The company will communicate options to impacted members before the 2017 open enrollment period begins, and provide resources to assist them in transitioning to other plans as appropriate.
Aetna is one of the nation’s leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving an estimated 46.3 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional, voluntary and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans, and medical management capabilities, Medicaid health care management services, workers’ compensation administrative services and health information technology products and services. Aetna’s customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, health care providers, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and expatriates. For more information, see www.aetna.com.
Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. You can generally identify forward-looking statements by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "anticipate," "believe," "continue," "could," "estimate," "expect," "explore," "evaluate," "intend," "may," "might," "plan," "potential," "predict," "project," "seek," "should," or "will," or the negative thereof or other variations thereon or comparable terminology. These forward-looking statements are only predictions and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond Aetna's control.
Statements in this press release regarding Aetna that are forward-looking, including our ability to limit our financial exposure to individual public health insurance exchange ("public exchange") products, our future participation in public exchanges, our ability to gain additional insight into public exchange products, the factors that impact our future participation in public exchanges, the number of states and the number of counties in which we will offer public exchange products in 2017, the number of counties in which we will offer off-exchange individual products in 2017, and the transition assistance we expect to provide to our existing public exchange members, are based on management's estimates, assumptions and projections, and are subject to significant uncertainties and other factors, many of which are beyond Aetna's control. Important risk factors could cause actual future results and other future events to differ materially from those currently estimated by management, including, but not limited to: the profitability of Aetna's and Humana Inc.'s ("Humana's") public exchange and affordable care act ("ACA") compliant small group products, where membership has had and may continue to have more adverse health status and/or higher medical benefit utilization than Aetna and/or Humana projected; unanticipated increases in medical costs (including increased intensity or medical utilization as a result of flu or otherwise; changes in membership mix to higher cost or lower-premium products or membership adverse selection; medical cost increases resulting from unfavorable changes in contracting or re-contracting with providers (including as a result of provider consolidation and/or integration); increased pharmacy costs (including in Aetna's and/or Humana's public exchange products)); uncertainty related to Aetna's and Humana's accruals for ACA's reinsurance, risk adjustment and risk corridor programs ("3R's"); uncertainty related to the funding for and final reconciliations with respect to ACA's risk management and subsidy programs; the implementation of health care reform legislation, including collection of ACA fees, assessments and taxes through increased premiums; adverse legislative, regulatory and/or judicial changes to or interpretations of existing health care reform legislation and/or regulations (including those relating to minimum medical loss ratio ("MLR") rebates); the implementation of public exchanges; the timing to consummate Aetna's proposed acquisition of Humana (the "Humana Acquisition"); the timing and resolution of the Department of Justice litigation relating to the Humana Acquisition; the timing to consummate the proposed divestitures of certain of Aetna's and Humana's Medicare Advantage assets (collectively, the "Divestitures"); the risk that a condition to closing of the Humana Acquisition and/or the Divestitures may not be satisfied; the risk that a regulatory approval that may be required for Aetna's 2017 public exchange or off-exchange individual products, the Humana Acquisition and/or the Divestitures is delayed, is not obtained or is obtained subject to conditions that are not anticipated; the outcome of various litigation matters related to the Humana Acquisition; Aetna's ability to achieve the synergies and value creation projected to be realized following the completion of the Humana Acquisition; Aetna's ability to promptly and effectively integrate Humana's businesses; the diversion of management time on Humana Acquisition-related and/or Divestiture-related issues; Aetna's and Humana's ability to offset Medicare Advantage and PDP rate pressures; and changes in Aetna's and Humana's future cash requirements, capital requirements, results of operations, financial condition and/or cash flows. Health care reform will continue to significantly impact Aetna's business operations and financial results, including Aetna's pricing and medical benefit ratios. Key components of the legislation will continue to be phased in through 2020, and Aetna will be required to dedicate material resources and incur material expenses during 2016 to implement health care reform. Significant parts of the legislation, including aspects of public exchanges, nondiscrimination requirements, reinsurance, risk corridor and risk adjustment, continue to evolve through the promulgation of regulations and guidance at the federal level. In addition, pending efforts in the U.S. Congress to amend or restrict funding for various aspects of health care reform and pending litigation challenging aspects of the law continue to create additional uncertainty about the ultimate impact of health care reform. As a result, many of the impacts of health care reform will not be known for the next several years. Other important risk factors include: adverse changes in health care reform and/or other federal or state government policies or regulations as a result of health care reform or otherwise (including legislative, judicial or regulatory measures that would affect Aetna's and/or Humana's business model, restrict funding for or amend various aspects of health care reform, limit Aetna's and/or Humana's ability to price for the risk it assumes and/or reflect reasonable costs or profits in its pricing, such as mandated minimum medical benefit ratios, or eliminate or reduce ERISA pre-emption of state laws (increasing Aetna's and/or Humana's potential litigation exposure)); adverse and less predictable economic conditions in the U.S. and abroad (including unanticipated levels of, or increases in the rate of, unemployment); reputational or financial issues arising from Aetna's and/or Humana's social media activities, data security breaches, other cybersecurity risks or other causes; Aetna's ability to diversify Aetna's sources of revenue and earnings (including by developing, operating and expanding Aetna’s consumer business and expanding Aetna's foreign operations), transform Aetna's business model, develop new products and optimize Aetna's business platforms; the success of Aetna's Healthagen® (including Accountable Care Solutions and health information technology) initiatives; adverse changes in size, product or geographic mix or medical cost experience of membership; managing executive succession and key talent retention, recruitment and development; failure to achieve and/or delays in achieving desired rate increases and/or profitable membership growth due to regulatory review or other regulatory restrictions, the difficult economy and/or significant competition, especially in key geographic areas where membership is concentrated, including successful protests of business awarded to Aetna and/or Humana; failure to adequately implement health care reform; the outcome of various litigation and regulatory matters, including audits, challenges to Aetna's and/or Humana's minimum MLR rebate methodology and/or reports, guaranty fund assessments, intellectual property litigation and litigation concerning, and ongoing reviews by various regulatory authorities of, certain of Aetna's and/or Humana's payment practices with respect to out-of-network providers, other providers and/or life insurance policies; Aetna's ability to integrate, simplify, and enhance Aetna's existing products, processes and information technology systems and platforms to keep pace with changing customer and regulatory needs; Aetna's ability to successfully integrate Aetna's businesses (including Humana, Coventry, bswift LLC and other businesses Aetna may acquire in the future) and implement multiple strategic and operational initiatives (including the Divestitures) simultaneously; Aetna's and/or Humana's ability to manage health care and other benefit costs; adverse program, pricing, funding or audit actions by federal or state government payors, including as a result of sequestration and/or curtailment or elimination of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' star rating bonus payments; Aetna's ability to reduce administrative expenses while maintaining targeted levels of service and operating performance; failure by a service provider to meet its obligations to Aetna or Humana; Aetna's and Humana's ability to develop and maintain relationships (including collaborative risk-sharing agreements) with providers while taking actions to reduce medical costs and/or expand the services each company offers; Aetna's ability to demonstrate that Aetna's products and processes lead to access to quality affordable care by Aetna's members; Aetna's and/or Humana's ability to maintain their relationships with third-party brokers, consultants and agents who sell their products; increases in medical costs or Group Insurance claims resulting from any epidemics, acts of terrorism or other extreme events; changes in medical cost estimates due to the necessary extensive judgment that is used in the medical cost estimation process, the considerable variability inherent in such estimates, and the sensitivity of such estimates to changes in medical claims payment patterns and changes in medical cost trends; a downgrade in Aetna's financial ratings; and adverse impacts from any failure to raise the U.S. Federal government's debt ceiling or any sustained U.S. Federal government shut down. For more discussion of important risk factors that may materially affect Aetna, please see the risk factors contained in Aetna's 2015 Annual Report on Form 10-K ("Aetna's 2015 Annual Report") and Aetna’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended June 30, 2016 (“Aetna’s June 2016 Quarterly Report”), each on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). For more discussion of important risk factors that may materially affect Humana, please see the risk factors contained in Humana's 2015 Annual Report on Form 10-K ("Humana's 2015 Annual Report") and Humana’s Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K filed or furnished during 2016, each on file with the SEC. You should also read Aetna's 2015 Annual Report and Aetna’s June 2016 Quarterly Report for a discussion of Aetna's historical results of operations and financial condition. You should also read Humana's 2015 Annual Report and Humana’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended June 30, 2016, each on file with the SEC, for a discussion of Humana's historical results of operations and financial condition.
No assurances can be given that any of the events anticipated by the forward-looking statements will transpire or occur, or if any of them do occur, what impact they will have on the results of operations, financial condition or cash flows of Aetna or Humana. Aetna does not assume any duty to update or revise forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, as of any future date.
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