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Aetna plans to quit California’s individual insurance market

US-based health care benefits company Aetna is planning to stop issuing health care products to individual consumers in California at the end of 2013.

The health insurer, which notified California’s insurance regulator about its impending decision, said that it will continue offering health insurance to employers and Medicare beneficiaries, as well as dental and life-insurance products in the state.

Aetna spokeswoman Anjie Coplin was quoted by Reuters as saying that the company has informed California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, although its members and brokers are yet to be informed.

Due to the possible closure of the business, the customers’ who are receiving health coverage from Aetna will have to seek alternative coverage by the end of this year.

The company’s decision to stop marketing of individual health care products comes at a time, when the state is gearing up to launch a state health exchange authorized by US President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

The company expects that out of its 1.5 million policyholders in the state, approximately 49,000 will be affected from the decision.

Most recently, the company acquired Coventry Health Care for $5.7bn in a cash and stock deal, to emerge as a major player in government-financed health care segment.

Serving nearly 38.3 million customers, the company offers various traditional, voluntary and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans, and medical management capabilities.