UnitedHealth Will Cut Obamacare Exchanges to Only Handful of States

Company expects losses to total more than $1 billion from this year and last


UnitedHealth, the nation’s largest health insurer, has announced they will cut participation in Obamacare exchanges to only a handful of states, the Associated Press reported.

After expanding to nearly three-dozen states this year, the company has already planned to pull out of Arkansas, Georgia, and Michigan in 2017. Participation is expected to go down even further.

"UnitedHealth moved slowly into this newly created market by participating in only 4 exchanges in their first year, 2014," the article states. "But the company then expanded to two dozen exchanges last year and said in October it would add to that total. It currently participates in exchanges in 24 states and covers 795,000 people."

"A month after announcing its latest exchange expansion, UnitedHealth started voicing second thoughts," AP said. "The insurer said in November that it would decide by the first half of this year whether to even participate in the market for 2017."

After losing $475 million in 2015, the company has projected that it will lose $650 million this year. This is an increase from their initial projection of $525 million in losses.

"CEO Stephen Hemsley said Tuesday that the company expects losses from its exchange business to total more than $1 billion for this year and last," the article states. "He added that the company cannot continue to broadly serve the market created by the Affordable Care Act’s coverage expansion due partly to the higher risk that comes with its customers."