Aetna’s announcement earlier this week that it will exit the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance marketplace in South Carolina will affect roughly 8,000 South Carolinians.
University of South Carolina nursing professor Ronda Hughes told South Carolina Radio Network that is going make things hard for the consumer.
“Well what it means to them is that, come soon… they’re going to need to sign up with another insurance provider or they will not have insurance,” Hughes said.
Hughes hopes those affected consumers will not experience all the problems in signing up that came with the program a few years ago. “When Obamacare first got into place and they started getting the insurance market set up so that people could sign up for insurance, the website crashed. And there were a lot of problems and a lot of organizations had to step in,” Hughes said.
However, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has not reported serious delays or issues on its website since the initial surge in patients seeking plans when the exchanges went online in late 2013.
Aetna is also ending its Obamacare plans in 10 other states: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas.
Participants will be required to sign up for other plans on the exchange or buy individual insurance outside of the exchanges once open enrollment begins later this year. Or they may not sign up with a new company at all and choose to pay the penalty.
Patients could also lose their doctors and hospitals if they sign up for plans that do not include those providers in their current coverage. Those who live in rural areas are most affected.