Should I Stay, Or Should I Go? (Limitless Possibilities)

The biggest U.S. health insurer is threatening to pull out of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) health exchanges. UnitedHealth claims it is losing hundreds of millions of dollars selling individual policies under the federal health law.

From the Wall Street Journal:

The biggest U.S. health insurer said it has suffered major losses on policies sold on the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges and will consider withdrawing from them, adding to worries about the future of the marketplaces at the heart of the Obama administration’s signature health law.

Reuters quoted UnitedHealth Chief Executive Stephen Hemsley as saying,  “We cannot sustain these losses. We can’t really subsidize a marketplace that doesn’t appear at the moment to be sustaining itself.”

According to NBC News, “fewer enrollees than expected are signing up for health insurance through the exchanges and those that are aren’t healthy enough to offset the added expense of insuring people who previously lacked health insurance, many of whom have pre-existing medical conditions and other costly ailments.”

While UnitedHealth’s announcement raises questions about the long-term health of the exchanges, some of the company’s insurance rivals insist they are not experiencing the same problems. From CNBC:

“We are surprised by United’s announcement. We’re doing fine,” said Dr. Mario Molina, president and CEO of Molina Health in a phone interview. Molina is Medicaid-focused insurer, which has targeted low-income exchange members.” Molina Health’s larger rival in the Medicaid market, Centene, also told analysts and investors that the exchange markets were performing as expected.

As we draw closer to the holiday weekend, it seems fitting to ask….are you thankful for the exchanges and the opportunity to buy health coverage through them – or not? Either way – we want to wish you and your family a happy, healthy, and safe Thanksgiving!  

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