Aetna Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mark Bertolini escalated his criticism of the Affordable Care Act, saying Obamacare’s markets are nearing failure as premiums climb and healthier individuals drop out.
“It is in a death spiral,” Bertolini said in a video interview with the Wall Street Journal that aired Wednesday on the newspaper’s website. He predicted that more insurers will drop out of the market for 2018, following Humana Inc.’s decision to quit Obamacare entirely for next year.
Aetna, too, is mulling whether to further reduce its presence in the markets set up by the ACA. The company cut its footprint to four states for this year, from 15, after losing about $450 million on sales of ACA plans last year.
Bertolini has been saying for months that the ACA’s markets are deteriorating. In October, he said that rising rates would push healthy people away from Obamacare, leaving insurers with sicker customers, and forcing premiums even higher. The increasing burden of medical costs as fewer and fewer healthy customers enroll are among the conditions that create an insurance death spiral.