After Exiting Obamacare Exchanges, UnitedHealth’s Profits Jump 56 Percent

Company said it would lose $850 million by participating in exchanges


UnitedHealth Group's profits increased by 56 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016, after the group dropped out of the Obamacare exchanges last year, the Chicago Tribune reports.

UnitedHealth, the largest health insurer in the United States, exited Obamacare markets inApril saying that it was difficult to turn a profit because enrollees turned out to be more costly than expected.

"UnitedHealth said operating earnings from its UnitedHealthcare business, which provides health coverage, jumped 79 percent to $1.7 billion compared to the final quarter of 2015, when the insurer had to set aside money to cover growing losses on the Affordable Care Act's public insurance exchanges," the article said.

"In the fourth quarter, UnitedHealth also recorded $1.8 billion in operating earnings from its Optum segment, which provides pharmacy benefits management and technology services and also operates clinics and doctor's offices."

The company said it would lose an estimated $850 million from participating in the Affordable Care Act.

"The individual business, the exchange business, is no longer the open sore that it once was for the company," said Sheryl Skolnick, an analyst at Mizuho.