Health care companies may be tricking people into Obamacare

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Aetna retreats from Obamacare

Unnamed health care providers may be steering patients towards Obamacare instead of Medicare and Medicaid, according to a release from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

CMS, the government organization in charge of Medicare and Medicaid, solicited public comment on Thursday for instances in which health care providers, such as doctors and treatment centers, misled people towards policies on the public exchanges set up by the Affordable Care Act.

"The request for information and letters to providers focus on situations where patients may be steered away from Medicare or Medicaid benefits, which can among other concerns, result in beneficiaries experiencing a disruption in the continuity and coordination of their care as a result of changes to their network of providers," said a release from CMS.

Health care providers typically earn more from the Obamacare plans than Medicare and Medicaid, thus it is more profitable to direct patients towards the former.

"We are concerned about reports that some organizations may be engaging in enrollment activities that put their profit margins ahead of their patients' needs," said Andy Slavitt, the acting administrator of CMS, in the release.

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2016 issues: Health, Obamacare opinions, Medicare, Abortion
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2016 issues: Health, Obamacare opinions, Medicare, Abortion
MANHATTAN, NEW YORK CITY, UNITED STATES - 2015/08/22: Assembly of some 150 anti-abortion protesters behind barricade in front of Planned Parenthood. A coalition of anti-abortion protesters protested on Mott Street in Manhattan in front of Planned Parenthood. (Photo by Andy Katz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
MANHATTAN, NEW YORK CITY, UNITED STATES - 2015/08/22: Protester with Baby Doe sign in front of Planned Parenthood. A coalition of anti-abortion protesters protested on Mott Street in Manhattan in front of Planned Parenthood. (Photo by Andy Katz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson speaks at a anti-abortion rally opposing federal funding for Planned Parenthood in front of the U.S. Capitol July 28, 2015 in Washington, DC. Planned Parenthood faces mounting criticism amid the release of videos by a pro-life group and demands to vote in the Senate to stop funding. (Photo by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: Republican presidential candidate, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks during a Anti-abortion rally opposing federal funding for Planned Parenthood in front of the U.S. Capitol July 28, 2015 in Washington, DC. Planned Parenthood faces mounting criticism amid the release of videos by a pro-life group and demands to vote in the Senate to stop funding. (Photo by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 22: Pro-choice protesters chant in front of the Supreme Court on Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015, the anniversary of the Roe v Wade abortion decision. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 5: Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., testifies during the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on 'ObamaCare: Why the Need for an Insurance Company Bailout?' on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 25: Affordable Care Act supporters hold up signs outside the Supreme Court as they wait for the court's decision on Obamacare on Thursday, June 25, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 25 - Supporters of the Affordable Care Act celebrate as the opinion for health care is reported outside of the Supreme Court in Washington,Thursday June 25, 2015. The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the nationwide tax subsidies under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, in a ruling that preserves health insurance for millions of Americans. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)
RICHMOND, CA - MARCH 31: Posters about Obamacare are posted on a window during a healthcare enrollment fair at the Bay Area Rescue Mission on March 31, 2014 in Richmond, California. SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) held the fair to help people sign up for free and low-cost health coverage through Medi-Cal or Covered California on the final day before the sign-up deadline. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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One of the largest issues with the exchanges is that healthier people have not been signing up for Obamacare plans, leaving the pool of people paying into the system older and sicker. This in turn drains the overall funds and makes it unprofitable for many insurers.

While the CMS solicitation does not name particular providers, it is likely that the regulator heard of such activities before asking for public comment. The CMS also said they are thinking about possible enforcement action against providers undertaking the practice.

"In particular, CMS is looking at authorities to impose civil monetary penalties on health care providers when their actions result in late enrollment penalties for Medicare eligible individuals who are steered to an individual market plan and, as a result, are delayed in enrolling in Medicare," said the release.

This news comes in the same week that Aetna, one of the nation's largest insurers, announced that they will pull out of 70% of the counties in which they offer Obamacare plans due to a $200 million loss on the exchange business in the second quarter.

SEE ALSO: AETNA: Here's what it would take for us to completely abandon Obamacare
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