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The JAMA Forum
October 4, 2016

Why Are Private Health Insurers Losing Money on Obamacare?

Author Affiliations
  • 1James Madison professor of political economy and of economics at Princeton University
JAMA. 2016;316(13):1347-1348. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.13743

The report last week (http://wapo.st/2bvbkiQ) that Aetna, one of the major US health insurance companies, would leave most of the health insurance exchanges established under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010 follows similar accounts the media that Anthem (http://on.wsj.com/2atMJ00), Aetna (http://on.wsj.com/2aP0F2Z), and other large private health insurers are contemplating withdrawing from the so-called ACA marketplace. The companies say the reason behind these actions is they are losing hundreds of millions of dollars on the business coming to them from these exchanges. To make up for the losses, some insurers, though by no means all, have quoted premium increases in excess of 25% for 2017 (http://kaiserf.am/1tubOxk).