UnitedHealth pulling out of most ObamaCare markets, Blue Cross-Blue Shield may follow

by Placerville Newswire / Apr 19, 2016 / comments

[By Peter Sullivan] The insurer UnitedHealth is pulling out of the ObamaCare marketplaces in all but a “handful” of states in 2017, the company announced Tuesday. 

The announcement, made by CEO Stephen Hemsley on an earnings call, follows up on the company’s statement in November that it was considering dropping out completely due to financial losses. 

The moves by United, the nation’s largest health insurer, have drawn attention for what they could indicate about the sustainability of ObamaCare as whole. 

But as the Obama administration has pointed out, United is actually a fairly small player on the ObamaCare marketplaces, with about 6 percent of enrollees. It also often was not priced competitively. 

Still, United is far from alone among insurers in having concerns about financial losses in the ObamaCare marketplaces.  

Some insurers that play a larger role in the program, such as Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in some states, have also raised the prospect of dropping off the marketplaces. 

Significant premium increases are widely expected for next year as insurers try to stop their losses, though the impact for consumers is usually cushioned by ObamaCare’s tax credits. 

The administration says it expects that insurers will both come and go as the new market set up by the law develops, but that the marketplace will continue to succeed.  

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