An open letter to the Aetna CEO

Dear Mark T. Bertolini, Chairman and CEO, Aetna,

As a former actuary, benefits consultant, benefits manager, and a business and personal client of Aetna, I recognize fully the complexity of healthcare delivery and insurance in the US. I understand the meaning of claims loss ratios and the need for Aetna to earn a profit for its shareholders.

With this context, I ask that you please reconsider pulling Aetna out of the Healthcare exchanges in North Carolina and other states. I became an Aetna customer again when Aetna purchased the business of Coventry and integrated the two companies into the Aetna network. On the whole, our service has been good and we appreciate your negotiated discounts with Carolinas Medical Center and its doctor network. Many insureds do not realize the value of these discounts that must be paid by uninsureds.

The Affordable Care Act is still in its early childhood, but it has accomplished increasing coverage to over 20 million people. It has dampened healthcare cost increases, but tools to aid insurers like Aetna with initial years adverse selection, have been strangled by Congress whose majority wants to see the law fail. This added funding, called risk corridors, would have tied Aetna and other insurers over until the adverse selection (people initially overusing the healthcare due to pent up demand) stabilized. This plus the refusal of our state to expand Medicaid and the naysaying of the law, also led to a poorer risk pool than you anticipated.

I recognize Aetna must make money, but the ACA is actually working pretty well in spite of these challenges. And, as an actuary, I know the cost of healthcare is going up in America irrespective of the plan due to our aging society and being the most obese country in the world. We are train wrecks waiting to happen, so the ACA will get folks to see the doctor sooner rather than later which will ameliorate future increases.

Please reconsider your position and bear with us. We need competition in our state and BCBS will be the only insurer left. Also please aggressively discuss with our State Insurance Commissioner about needed increases and our Congress about funding the risk corridors. This will help assure its success. To be frank, if the ACA went away, over 20 million Americans would suffer and we would likely enter a recession with less spending in our economies. Aetna is too good a company and there is a greater good in staying with us. Thank you for considering my request.

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12 thoughts on “An open letter to the Aetna CEO

  1. Dear Keith,

    Thanks for taking the step to write this letter. If HRC wins, ACA will probably be improved. It would be foolish for Aetna not to ride this out. Aetna and Coventry is also in Florida.

    Ciao, Gronda

  2. Note to Readers: I have written of this before, but it bears repeating. With 31 states choosing to expand Medicaid with nineteen not, comparative data is now available. It turns out that in states who expanded Medicaid, the rate of personal bankruptcies have declined. Lack of medical insurance and poor insurance are the number one reason for personal bankruptcy. This is why this key aspect of the ACA is critical and per The Commonwealth Fund, Kaiser Family Foundation and other reputable healthcare groups, expanding Medicaid will help people, rural hospitals and state economies. Republican Governor and Presidential candidate John Kasich called Medicaid expansion a “no brainer,” when he did it in Ohio.

  3. Note to Readers: I forwarded the letter to the Aetna corporate communications person via email. Let’s see their reaction. I will be forwarding it to my state legislators later this week.

  4. Reblogged this on Mellow  Curmudgeon and commented:
    The post reblogged here is a welcome reminder that there are still some thoughtful and pragmatic people in the US. Tho seriously flawed in many ways, the ACA is an improvement over what came before. The flaws can be fixed if the pols will stop posturing for a while.

    • Many thanks for the reblog and the nice introduction. I love your nickname. I sent this letter to Aetna online, but have yet to hear a response. Best wishes, Keith

  5. Note to Readers: No word from Aetna, but it may be too soon or I am living a pipe dream. As a friend and colleague used to say, “kiss my foot” is an answer. I did hear from two Democrat legislators, which is always nice. The negative press on its woes have a larger bounce than the positive ones.

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