Aetna CEO: Obamacare Pretty Much On Track

Aetna is one of America’s biggest health insurers, and it’s currently operating in 17 different Obamacare exchanges. On a call this morning, CEO Mark Bertolini passed along a couple of interesting factlets:

Bertolini said about half of the company’s premium increases, whatever they turn out to be, will be attributable to “on the fly” regulatory changes made by the Obama administration. He cited as an example the administration’s policy of allowing old health plans that were supposed to expire in 2014 to be extended another three years if states and insurers wanted to.

….Aetna has added 230,000 paying customers from ACA exchanges, and it projects to end the year with 450,000 paid customers. It said it can’t yet draw a “meaningful conclusion” about the population’s overall health status.

The first is interesting because it suggests that Aetna’s premium increases won’t be based on fundamentals. That is, they aren’t rising because the customers Aetna signed up were older or sicker than they expected. That’s good news, even if the regulatory shakeouts of Obamacare’s early days are causing a bit of pain.

And the second is interesting because Aetna apparently expects to double its Obamacare customer base by the end of the year. That’s roughly what the CBO projected earlier this year, and this is a bit of evidence suggesting that they got it right.