Aetna CEO: Young adults rather pay for 'beer on Fridays and Saturdays' than health insurance

People who are healthier and younger are more likely to forego buying ACA health plans as they weigh rising premiums against other lifestyle expenses, Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini said at Bloomberg's The Year Ahead Summit in New York.

Insurers increased premium rates for ACA plans on the individual market by an average of 25 percent for 2017 coverage. Mr. Bertolini said this is enough to deter many healthier customers from purchasing coverage.

"As the rates rise, the healthier people pull out because the out-of-pocket costs aren't worth it," Mr. Bertolini said, reports Bloomberg. "Young people can do the math. Gas for the car, beer for Fridays and Saturdays, health insurance."

This trend could reduce the proportion of healthy members to more sickly members on the exchange, which could cause premiums to rise even further.

Mr. Bertolini said Aetna would reconsider re-entering the exchanges it exited earlier this year if legislators implement changes to help insurers bare the costs of populations that are sicker than first anticipated.

 

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