Aetna's plan to avoid Obamacare for 1 more year
By getting its brokers to renew clients by year-end 2013, the insurer can put off the new mandates until nearly 2015.
Insurance giant Aetna (AET) is urging its brokers to think ahead in order to avoid the mandates that will go into effect next year with Obamacare.
Aetna is encouraging its brokers to use the "premium savings program," which would re-enroll clients at the end of 2013, carrying over into 2014 when the Affordable Care Act goes into effect, reports the Huffington Post.
"By electing a fourth quarter 2013 renewal, some of your clients can achieve significant cost savings in 2014 and take time to assess their business needs for the future, without sacrificing their current coverage today," Aetna wrote in an email to its brokers.
Aetna's push to get clients to sidestep Obamacare comes amid research indicating that, for many, health-care premiums will rise in 2014. That's because underlying claims costs are projected to jump by one-third across the U.S. when the law goes into effect next year, as reported by MSN moneyNOW last month.
Some states will be hit harder than others, with the biggest increases seen Ohio and California, according to a study from the Society of Actuaries. Aetna flagged potential rate increases as one reason brokers should enroll their clients by the end of 2013.
"In 2014, changes set in motion by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) may lead to dramatic increases in premiums," the company said in the email.
Other insurers are considering the strategy, which would take advantage of a loophole that lets health insurers re-enroll clients for almost all of 2014, according to the Los Angeles Times.
"Insurers are onto this, and the big question is how many will try to game the system," Washington and Lee University law professor Timothy Stoltzfus Jost told the newspaper.
Aetna was among the health insurers that opposed the ACA, the Huffington Post notes, giving millions to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Action Network to fight against the legislation.
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