Obamacare exodus underway, insurers to leave exchanges

Obamacare exodus underway, insurers to leave exchanges

DENVER—One of the country’s largest health insurers, UnitedHealthcare, warned today that it may leave the ObamaCare exchanges within two years, delivering a shockwave to the health care marketplace. The announcement has “rattled” the entire health care industry.

Advancing Colorado Executive Director Jonathan Lockwood released the following statement:

“Today’s news marks an exodus from Obamacare that will further expose Obamacare as a monumental fraud. Health care was plagued by mandates, regulation and control by the government, crippled as a result, and while it is disappointing to some, shocks like insurers leaving the Obamacare marketplace should surprise no one. The need to repeal Obamacare is clearer than ever and people are being hurt by the refusal of our politicians to do what is necessary to spark a revival in the health care market.”

Five health care stocks in the S&P 500 dropped 5 percent or more today, including hospitals Tenet Healthcare (THC) and HCA Holding (HCA) and insurers Aetna (AET), Anthem (ANTM) and UnitedHealth (UNH), according to a USA TODAY analysis of data from S&P Capital IQ.

Obamacare co-ops are failing across the country and fewer than half of the 23 co-ops are functional, let alone on solid financial footing.

“In recent weeks, growth expectations for individual exchange participation have tempered industrywide,” said Stephen Hemsley, the company’s CEO. “Co-operatives have failed, and market data has signaled higher risks and more difficulties while our own claims experience has deteriorated, so we are taking this proactive step.”

From the company’s statement:

“The Company’s revised 2015 net earnings outlook of approximately $6.00 per share reflects expected pre-tax earnings pressure of $425 million or $0.26 per share, including $275 million related to the advance recognition of 2016 losses. The earnings pressure is driven by projected losses on individual exchange-compliant products related to the 2015 and 2016 policy years.”

According to Bloomberg, the move is “a rapid about-face.” Just a month ago, UnitedHealth was “still optimistic about the exchange business,” which it only fully jumped into this year. Bloomberg added, “it has apparently found the water icy cold.”