UnitedHealthcare to Exit Most Obamacare Markets

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UnitedHealthcare plans to operate in only a “handful” of health insurance exchanges in 2017, company officials announced during its first-quarter earnings call earlier this month.

“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,” CEO Stephen Hemsley said in a conference call with investors Tuesday.

“Next year, we will remain in only a handful of states, and we will not carry financial exposure from exchanges into 2017,” Hemsley said.

The company announced it lost $475 million last year from the Obamacare marketplace plans and is slated to lose $650 million this year.

In response to UnitedHealth’s decision, spokesperson Benjamin Wakana for the Department of Health and Human Services gave the following statement: “We have full confidence, based on data, that the Marketplaces will continue to thrive for years ahead. The Marketplace should be judged by the choices it offers consumers, not the decisions of any one issuer.”

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