Aetna's Withdraw Deals Devastating Blow to Arizona County

Pinal County is left with no insurers selling ACA plans.

Pinal County, AZ, is home to 400,000 people, many of whom face uncertainty about the fate of their health insurance for 2017.

Due to Aetna’s recent decision to pull out of Obamacare, there are currently no insurers selling plans on the county’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges. State insurance regulators have until the end of August to persuade another insurer to sell insurance.

However, it may be difficult to convince a company to enter the market, as a large insurer withdrew because of financial losses, according to The Hill.

“It’s especially disturbing that this move could negatively impact the nearly 10,000 citizens enrolled in Obamacare in Pinal County, Arizona, where not a single health insurer has filed to offer federal exchange plans,” US Senator John McCain (R-AZ) said in a statement. “If left without an insurer, Pinal County citizens would have no health care options when it comes to Obamacare’s marketplace.”

If no insurers sell ACA plans in this county, people would be forced to purchase off-exchange coverage. Because subsidies would not be offered, people are facing increased costs and less options.

It is likely that many low-income people will not purchase the plans due to costs that are unaffordable. People who choose not to purchase plans will not be fined; however, if they become injured or need care, they will have to pay out-of-pocket, according to USA Today.

Other large insurers, such as UnitedHealth Group and Humana, have already exited the state’s exchange due to losses. Aetna’s withdraw could potentially affect patient health as well.

Those who have chronic illnesses or need extensive care may not be able to afford the proper care.