Sept 12 President Barack Obama on Monday urged
U.S. insurers offering coverage next year under his national
healthcare law to step up their efforts to enroll those who
remain uninsured, especially younger and healthier Americans.
Several big insurers, including UnitedHealth Group Inc
, Aetna Inc and Humana Inc, have
announced they will pull back from the Obamacare individual
insurance market in 2017, citing financial losses due to the
costs of covering members who are sicker than expected.
Their planned exit has prompted new questions over whether
Obamacare can survive over the long-term if insurers cannot
create a viable business from the market. Insurance premiums for
consumers have jumped each year since Obamacare plans took
effect in 2014, and those price increases are expected to grow
steeper as fewer insurers participate.
Obama, in a letter to all insurers selling health plans next
year on the exchanges, noted that the program has helped reduce
the percentage of Americans without health insurance to a record
low, and acknowledged that it could still be improved to benefit
insurers and consumers.
His administration will help find and enroll those who still
lack coverage, with a particular focus on enrolling young
"Since the remaining uninsured are disproportionately
younger and healthier, signing them up improves the risk pool
and consequently the affordability of coverage for all
enrollees," Obama said in the letter.
Obama, Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell
and other top health advisers on Monday met with executives from
several leading insurance companies, including Cigna Corp
Chief Executive David Cordani and Humana CEO Bruce Broussard, to
discuss ways to strengthen the marketplace ahead of its fourth
open enrollment period, which begins Nov 1, according to a White
"Most new enterprises have growing pains and opportunities
for improvement. The marketplace, while strong, is no
exception," Obama said in the letter.
(Reporting by Susan Kelly in Chicago)