Tuesday, January 19, 2016

UnitedHealth May Ditch Obamacare

UnitedHealth May Ditch Obamacare, ACA, Healthcare law

Despite of UnitedHealth Group Inc. efforts to cut down on sign-ups their 2016 Affordable Care Act exchanges enrollment has surge and this caused the company significant losses.

UnitedHealth, which is the biggest U.S. health insurer said, they are expecting losses of more than $500 million on its 2016 Obamacare plans, compared with previous projections that amounted to $400 million to $425 million in losses.

The company has done some steps to reduce their exchange business exposure in anticipation of losses, like cutting down on marketing and slashing commissions to health-insurance agents.
However, enrollment still grew, widening their exposure. UnitedHealth Group Chief Executive Stephen J. Hemsley said the new projection reflected “prudence,” as the company sought to ensure it had covered all possible losses.

On Tuesday, the UnitedHealth reported their financial outlook for 2016, they expect $7.60 to $7.80 in adjusted earnings per share and at least $180 billion in revenue. Its shares closed up 3% at $112.58, as investors shrugged off the exchange comments amid strong results elsewhere in the company’s portfolio.

But UnitedHealth’s move comes amid continued worries about the exchange business—concerns that the company jump-started in November, when it disclosed expected 2016 losses and said it would consider withdrawing from the health-law marketplaces, a decision expected to be made later this year.

What would an exit by UnitedHealth Group mean for Obamacare?

It would mean higher premiums as well cost sharing for consumers, particularly in small markets where UnitedHealth is a big player.

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