Health Insurance

Obamacare is working for us, says Florida Blue CEO

Health insurer CEO on future of Obamacare
Health insurer CEO on future of Obamacare

While Aetna has massively pulled back from Obamacare markets, the program is working for Florida Blue, its CEO said Tuesday.

Aetna became the latest big insurer to pare back on providing individual health plans under the Affordable Care Act when it announced Monday it would bail out next year from 11 of the 15 states where it sells the plans.

However, Florida Blue is concentrated just in Florida, and therefore knows its market "intimately well," Chief Executive Patrick Geraghty said in an interview with CNBC's "Closing Bell."

"The big nationals aren't quite as in touch with local markets and it makes a very big difference."

Florida Blue has 700,000 members under the ACA, while Aetna has about 800,000 across the country, he pointed out.

Aetna, like UnitedHealth and Humana, cited financial losses from its individual plans as the reason for the move.

Insurers have been saying Obamacare customers are, overall, less healthy than the companies need them to be so that the medical costs covered by the plans don't exceed the premiums the customers pay in each month.

However, Geraghty said that should come as no surprise, and said Florida Blue put together a very thorough strategic plan to deal with it.

"We anticipated that people were going to be more sick because they hadn't had health care in the past."

The insurer opened 20 retail centers around the state to help members sign up for coverage and get a health risk assessment right away so treatment can begin immediately.

Florida Blue is also a nonprofit, which Geraghty said is also an additional factor since it doesn't have to answer to Wall Street for its profits.

Meanwhile, that doesn't mean there is not room for improvement in Obamacare. Changes like eliminating taxes and finding ways to provide more affordable options could be put in place, he said.

— CNBC's Dan Mangan contributed to this report.