Aetna slashes ACA exchange participation to four states

Aetna will become the latest health insurer to chop its participation in the Affordable Care Act's public exchanges when it trims its presence to four states for 2017, from 15 this year.

The nation's third-largest insurer said late Monday that a second-quarter pre-tax loss of $200 million from its individual insurance coverage helped it decide to limit exposure to the exchanges, which also have generated losses for UnitedHealth Group and Anthem, among other carriers.

Aetna said earlier this month it was canceling expansion plans for its exchange business in 2017.

The exchanges have helped millions of gain health coverage. But major insurers say this relatively small slice of business generates large losses in part because of higher-than-expected claims.

Government officials say the future of the exchanges remains strong.