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What We're Reading: Insurers That Complained About the ACA Now Seeing Profits


What we're reading, December 5, 2016: insurers may be turning a corner with Obamacare plans; selling insurance across state lines may be a difficult initiative to implement; and older Americans are not diligent about getting vaccinations.

Many big health insurers had been vocal about their losses on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges, but they may have turned a corner. According to USA TODAY, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina made nearly $400 in the first 3 quarters of 2016, which is about the amount it lost during the first 2 years of the ACA. Aetna will be leaving the exchanges in most states because of losses of more than $430 million since January 2014, despite making nearly $12 million in Texas, alone.

Selling insurance across state lines is one of President-elect Donald J. Trump’s few healthcare initiatives, but achieving that goal may not be easy. The plan is a favorite of Republicans, and Trump’s pick to lead HHS is a proponent of the idea, but state insurance regulators and industry officials are pushing back, reported The Wall Street Journal. The problem is that insurance regulation differs from state to state, and state officials argue such a proposal would go against Trump’s pledge to increase the power of the states and reduce the power of the federal government.

As they grow older, people are not as diligent about getting themselves vaccinated for diseases like influenza, pneumonia, and shingles. Less than two-thirds of Americans older than age 65 get the annual flu shot or pneumococcal vaccination. Uptake of the shingles vaccine is even worse, according to The New York Times. While the shingles vaccine was approved a decade ago and is recommended for people over the age of 60, only 31% of individuals older than 65 had received it in 2014.

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