UnitedHealth to Exit Key ACA Market

bykst / Pixabay

bykst / Pixabay

UnitedHealth Group Inc. (Minnetonka MN) told brokers that it has filed paperwork to offer plans in just six states’ health-law marketplaces next year, providing the most complete picture so far of its previously announced widespread withdrawal.

The biggest U.S. health insurer said in April that it would pull out of all but a handful of the 34 states where it was selling the Affordable Care Act exchange plans, in the wake of mounting losses in that business.

Since then, the insurer’s 2017 exchange decisions have been emerging piecemeal as various state regulators disclosed that UnitedHealth wouldn’t be in their exchanges next year.

Last Tuesday, California officials became the latest to say UnitedHealth was leaving, when a spokesman for the Covered California exchange confirmed that the insurer wouldn’t participate in 2017.

UnitedHealth had about 1,200 Covered California enrollees, the spokesman said. In a posting on a private website it maintains for brokers, UnitedHealth said “at this time, we have filed to offer On-Exchange products” in Nevada, New York and Virginia for 2017. Moreover, the company’s small Harken Health subsidiary, which builds plans around primary-care clinics, will sell plans in Georgia, Illinois and Florida on a “limited basis,” the posting said.

UnitedHealth also told brokers that during the next few weeks it would begin informing consumers enrolled in its exchange plans in states where it will pull out. Existing plans are effective through the end of 2016, and consumers can switch to different insurers during the fall’s open enrollment period.

UnitedHealth said in April it had about 795,000 exchange enrollees at the end of the first quarter. In a statement,

UnitedHealth said “the smaller overall market size and shorter term, higher risk profile within this market segment continue to suggest we cannot broadly serve it on an effective and sustained basis.”But it said the company is “an advocate for more stable and sustainable approaches to serving exchange markets and those who rely on it for care.”

UnitedHealth shares closed the week up 2% at $136.84. (Source: Wall Street Journal)

Monday, June 6, 2016 / Vol. 24 / No. 22