Politics

America’s Largest Health Insurer Pulls Out Of Most Obamacare Exchanges

REUTERS/Gary Cameron

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Juliegrace Brufke Capitol Hill Reporter

America’s largest health insurer UnitedHealth Group said Tuesday it plans to pull out of the majority of Obamacare exchanges after taking a financial hit under the Affordable Care Act.

The health care giant warned in November it was re-evaluating its participation in the marketplaces following “the continuing deterioration in individual exchange-compliant product performance.”

CEO Stephen Hemsley said the group will continue to offer plans through Obamacare exchanges “in a handful of states,” USA Today reports.

GOP politicians said the withdraw reflects the major failures of the bill, which they say needs to be repealed and replaced.

“This isn’t about spreadsheets and quarterly reports— it’s about the president’s broken promise that families would have more choices under ObamaCare,” Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska said in a statement. “This year, in 36 percent of the nation’s counties, families could pick between only one or two insurers on the exchange and, given today’s news, next year looks like it could be even worse.”

Despite the major blow dealt to the the president’s landmark health care legislation, the administration continues to defend its sustainability.

“We have full confidence, based on data, that the Marketplaces will continue to thrive for years ahead,” Health and Human Services spokesman Ben Wakana said in a statement at Tuesday’s earnings call. “The Marketplace should be judged by the choices it offers consumers, not the decisions of any one issuer.”

United’s withdraw could have a major impact in certain areas of the country, according to a report released by the Kaiser Foundation Monday.

“The significance of United leaving the exchange market would vary substantially by state and could have a significant effect in some markets. In more than half of the counties where it participates – and 34 percent of counties overall – a United withdrawal would have an appreciable effect on the number of insurers competing on the exchange,” it reads. “In total, 1.8 million enrollees would go from having a choice of three insurers to two, and another 1.1 million would go from having a choice of two insurers to one.”

Insurance premiums are expected to skyrocket as insurance providers attempt to recoup the losses they have endured since Obamacare was implemented.

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