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Aetna could be forced out of Obamacare: CEO

Wednesday, 22 Jan 2014 | 7:32 AM ET
Medicare Advantage is too big now: Aetna CEO
Wednesday, 22 Jan 2014 | 6:09 AM ET
Mark Bertolini, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of Aetna, discusses the government's Medicare program and weighs in on enrollment participation in Obamacare. I think too much is being made of the website, we all have website failures from time to time, Bertolini says.

Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini told CNBC on Wednesday that Obamacare has failed to attract the uninsured, and he offered a scenario in which the insurance company could be forced to pull out of program.

The company will be submitting Obamacare rates for 2015 on May 15.

"Are they going to be double-digit [increases] or are we going to get beat up because they're double-digit or are we just going to have to pull out of the program?" Bertolini asked in a "Squawk Box" interview from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. "Those questions can't be answered until we see the population we have today. And we really don't have a good view on that."

(Read more: Obamacare first-person series: From a cancer patient to retirees, their stories in their own words)

He said that so far, Obamacare has just shifted people who were insured in the individual market to the public exchanges where they could get a better deal on a subsidy for coverage. "We see only 11 percent of the population is actually people that were firmly uninsured that are now insured. So [it] didn't really eat into the uninsured population."

For Obamacare to work better, it needs more flexibility and choice of insurance programs, Bertolini said. "We need to make it a lot more simpler for people. There needs to be more choice. When you get more choice, you make it more of a market and you get more people in the program."

As for Aetna, Obamacare plans make up 3 percent of its revenue, he said. "Whether or not there's a government bailout because we lose some money on members is irrelevant to us from our standpoint of our earnings."

By 2020, Bertolini said he sees 75 million people buying health-care insurance from exchanges. "Some portion of that will be public exchanges—probably 20 million to 25 million will be public exchanges—the rest will be private exchanges."

"We're going to have individuals buying health care with a subsidy from their government or a subsidy from their employer," he said.

By CNBC's Matthew J. Belvedere. Follow him on Twitter @Matt_SquawkCNBC.

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