Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini stated that the company has reduced its first-year estimates for how many individuals it expects to enroll in health insurance exchanges. Mr. Bertolini said, “The process required to sign up, to get the subsidies, is going to take some time.” He added, “I think this is a two-year ramp to get the individual exchanges up to a level where customers are going to feel appropriate signing up.”

Aetna has reduced the number of states in which it expects to sell insurance policies on the exchanges from 15 to 14, noting that the company has until September to pull out of other states if the exchanges are not adequately built or it appears as if marketing in those states will be unprofitable.

Aetna has signed deals with two-thirds of the hospitals and physicians it hopes to include in exchange networks, adding that those networks will be one-fourth to one-half the size of its regular provider organizations to keep rates low. In addition, Aetna is attempting to help delay premium rate increases until 2014 for its existing customers by allowing them to renew policies before the end of the year. This move could lower the number of individuals who enroll in the exchanges because the lower rates could be more attractive than purchasing an exchange policy.