Nebraska health care decisions uncertain amid deadline

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With Aetna's departure, Nebraska and DE are both left with a sole insurer, said Cynthia Cox, associate director for health reform at the Kaiser Family Foundation. It said last month that it plans to return next year, but that could change if it doesn't know for certain by early June that the government will fund customer cost-sharing subsidies next year.

Regulators previous year approved average rate increases in the individual market of 32.5 percent for Highmark and about 23 percent for Aetna.

"Our individual Commercial products lost almost $700 million between 2014 and 2016, and are projected to lose more than $200 million in 2017 despite a significant reduction in membership", T.J. Crawford, Aetna spokesman, said in an email.

Aetna has also pulled out of the individual market outside of the Obamacare exchanges in several states and is still deciding whether to participate in the remainder, a spokesman said.

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Congressman Adrian Smith said in a statement that Nebraskans will only have one insurer on the exchange, forcing them into a monopoly situation.

Aetna joins Humana, which said earlier this year that it would abandon selling that kind of coverage, a decision that temporarily left 16 Tennessee counties with no individual Affordable Care Act options for 2018.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska and UnitedHealthcare both dropped out this year.

Ultimately, though, insurers with the most common brand in health insurance, Blue Cross-Blue Shield, will decide the fate of the exchanges. "Repealing and replacing it with patient-centered solutions that stabilize the marketplace to bring down costs and increase choices is the only solution", Price said late Wednesday. "Instead of following through on his promise to ensure that all Americans would have better and less expensive health insurance, the Trump administration has done just the opposite by sabotaging the ACA insurance marketplaces in any possible way", Carper said. "For the consumer, they're going to see big rate hikes", Corlette said. That came after Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini told the Department of Justice that unrealized savings from a proposed merger with rival Humana would force the insurer to pull out of the market.

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