Aetna to drop small groups in Colorado |

Aetna to drop small groups in Colorado

Aetna will stop selling new health insurance to small groups in Colorado and move companies that are existing clients off the plan in the next year, affecting 1,200 companies and 5,200 employees and their dependents.

The state Division of Insurance confirmed Aetna’s plans, although the insurance giant said it was not planning to notify policyholders until Friday.

“After reviewing our portfolio of small-group products, we have identified Colorado as a market where we feel we can no longer meet the needs of our customers while remaining competitive,” regional Aetna spokeswoman Anjie Coplin said.

Aetna is staying in the individual and large-group markets in Colorado.

State insurance officials said they believe the 1,200 companies affected by Aetna’s decision to leave the small- group market will be able to purchase coverage from other insurers.

“These are obviously employers who are offering insurance and will want to continue, so we would expect the market to work,” said Jo Donlin, state Insurance Division external-affairs director.

Under state insurance regulations, Aetna now has to stay out of the Colorado small-group market until September 2015. The small-group business is defined as policies for groups of one to 50 people.

Aetna would not say why it is leaving the Colorado business behind. The company announced over the summer that it would end similar group coverage in Michigan.

Employers can renew their Aetna coverage one more time for a full year if their policies expire between now and the end of March, Coplin said. For those that renew between April and October of next year, owners can renew only through March 2012.

No new policies will be sold.

The Aetna move comes on the heels of major price hikes by Aetna and other health insurers in Colorado, as companies file with the state for rate-increase approvals.

Health-insurance companies across the nation are facing sharp criticism for double-digit rate hikes, some of which they are blaming on new requirements in the federal health care reform act.

Major insurance companies have also come under fire in Colorado for saying they would stop selling new policies covering individual children. The Insurance Division issued an emergency regulation last week to encourage them to reconsider.

Read more: Aetna to drop small groups in Colorado – The Denver Post

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