With payers bowing out of ACA exchanges, the Obama administration makes moves on a new advertising campaign

Many payers are losing faith in the Affordable Care Act, with Aetna's latest decision to withdraw from 11 exchanges leaving thousands of customers to seek insurance elsewhere. While the Obama administration plans to launch an advertising campaign to attract new enrollees, some payers claim the administration's campaign comes too late after payers suffered million-dollar losses, according to The New York Times.

The losses, in part, stem from very healthy Americans not purchasing coverage and sick Americans filing expensive claims. Aetna said it anticipated losses totaling $300 million on these state exchanges earlier this year. Similarly, UnitedHealth Group and Humana are also leaving several ACA exchanges after suffering million-dollar losses.

Tensions between the government and payers are mounting, with the Department of Justice filing two suits against the two payer megamergers, which may have sparked Aetna's exit. The Huffington Post got access to a letter in which Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini told federal officials in July that the company would exit the ACA exchanges if officials made moves to block the million-dollar deal. Mr. Bertolini wrote the letter 16 days before the DOJ filed suits against the Aetna-Humana and Anthem-Cigna mergers.

The ACA's fourth enrollment period commences on Nov. 1, and the government is taking a proactive roll in recruiting enrollees as many payers bow out of state exchanges. This enrollment period, officials will target adults turning 26 and may send letters regarding coverage to people who faced a tax penalty for being uninsured. In an appeal sent to healthcare advocates and insurance counselors, the administration proposes "interested consumers could appear in television, radio, print and/or digital ads and on social media" to speak on ACA' s behalf.

Through the testimonials, the administration is seeking to mitigate the negative impact the payers' departures have on the ACA's reputation. Many payers are concerned with the ACA and fear officials either do not understand or don't put sufficient resources toward combating challenges insurers face. With the losses, payers are raising premiums with Cigna's Tennessee consumers facing a 46 percent increase in premiums.

More articles on coding & billing:
Did the DOJ force Aetna's hand in its ACA departure? 5 things to know
Concern for disadvantaged patients rises as CMS moves towards value-based reimbursement: 4 thoughts
Kaiser invests in Health Catalyst: 4 things to know

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