The Beginning Of The End For The Affordable Care Act? Largest US Health Insurer May Exit ObamaCare

Tyler Durden's picture

Tracking the slow motion trainwreck of Obamacare has become one of our preferred hobbies: below is just a random sample of headlines covering just the most recent tribulations of the "we have to pass it to find out what's in it" Unaffordable Care Act:

But the most surprising article we wrote was our explanation from three weeks ago explaining why "Your Health Insurance Premiums Are About To Go Through The Roof" showing that even insurance companies have been unable to earn a profit under Obamacare, as shown in the following chart:


This was a stunning revelation because, after all, the Affordable Care Act was largely drafted by the insurance industry itself, and if for whatever reason, it itself was unable to capitalize on Obamacare, then it has truly been a disaster.

Today we got confirmation of this when none other than the U.S.’s biggest health insurer, UnitedHealth, cut its 2015 earnings forecast with a warning that it was considering pulling out of Obamacare, just one month after saying it would expand its presence in the program.

According to Bloomberg, "UnitedHealth Group would scale back marketing efforts for plans it’s selling this year under the Affordable Care Act, and may quit the business entirely in 2017 because it has proven to be more costly than expected."

This was precisely what we cautioned on November 2.

Fast forward to today when UnitedHealth said in a statement that "the company is evaluating the viability of the insurance exchange product segment and will determine during the first half of 2016 to what extent it can continue to serve the public exchange markets in 2017."

Needless to say, the implications for Obamacare - which has seen a surge in tangential problems in recent months - are dire: "A pull-back would deal a significant blow to President Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement. While UnitedHealth has been slower than some of its rivals to sell Obamacare policies since new government-run marketplaces for the plans opened in late 2013, the announcement may indicate that other insurers are struggling, said Sheryl Skolnick, an analyst at Mizuho Securities.

“If one of the largest and presumably, by reputation and experience, the most sophisticated of the health plans out there can’t make money on the exchanges, then one has to question whether the exchange as an institution is a viable enterprise,” Skolnick said.

UnitedHealth further said it suspended marketing its individual exchange plans and is cutting or eliminating commissions for brokers who sell the coverage.

What is surprising is that for UnitedHealth, its Obamacare-facing exposure is relatively limited: the company covers fewer than 550,000 people on the Obamacare exchanges. About 9.9 million people had insurance through the U.S.- and state-run insurance markets as of June 30. This means that all other insurance companies must be getting crushed, something which the market also noticed earlier today hitting the stocks of not only hospitals, such as CYH, HCA, LPNT, THC and UHS but also home health care providers as well such as AFAM, AMED, GTIV and LHCG.

What is perhaps even more perplexing is the abrupt shift in posture: just last month, UnitedHealth had struck a more optimistic note. I think we’ll see strikingly better performance on the insurance exchange business” next year, Chief Financial Officer David Wichmann told analysts on an Oct. 15 conference call."

Perhaps he had not seen the P&L? Oh well, he certainly did in the subsequently 4 weeks.

The rest of the story is well-known and has been covered here extensively in the past: the inability of businesses to turn a profit from Obamacare has meant that about a dozen non-profit “co-op” plans created under the Affordable Care Act have failed, after charging too little to cover the cost of patients’ medical care, and because an Obama administration fund designed to stabilize the market paid out just 12.6 percent of what insurers requested. And Anthem last month said some rivals were offering premiums too low to provide the coverage patients require and book a profit.

At the end of the day, the worst news is not for the corporations, since Obamacare is not going away any time soon. It simply means that what until now were supposedly Affordable plans under Obamacare, will soon become (even more) Unaffordable as insurer after insurer hikes premiums dramatically in order to make the biggest US governmental intrusion into the private sector in recent decades profitable to shareholders.

Or, as we explained three weeks ago, "Your Health Insurance Premiums Are About To Go Through The Roof"

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Groundhog Day's picture

Affordable for the .0001%

The9thDoctor's picture

Don't worry, Bernie has a solution!


Skateboarder's picture

Unfortunately that sarc can be taken with a grain of salt, as the next guy in will talk smack about how bad Obiecare is, and will go on to usher in _____care, lauded as the greatest thing since sliced bread, only paving the way towards uncontionable increases in premiums and the end-goal of an "All-American" (hah) single-payer system.

The Juggernaut's picture

Adverse selection, muther fuckers!

Syrin's picture

Obamadoesntcare is going bankrupt, made everythign worse and will have to be replaced ?!?!?!  


In other working as INTNEDED.   Here comes fully socialized medicine which was the goal of Obamadoesntcare all along.

UndergroundPost's picture

If you like your UnitedHealth can keep it...even if they go out of business...just trust me dammit. Yes, yes, ISIS was a spontaneous uprising but is contained.

wee-weed up's picture



This is a "hint" from the big insurers to the Obozo Admin...

"Hey guys, we want moar kickbacks for supporting ObozoCare."

Boris Alatovkrap's picture

There is time when Boris is read news from Amerikansky press and is sit back and laugh and then cry. USSA is elect abject amateur of emotional disregulation and psychotic break (okay, sometime Vlad is manifestation of slight strange behavior, but is obvious he is love Russia motherland!).

Funny thing is Barry is tell every voter plan to "Fundamentally Exchange Amerika" and people are still vote twice (some 5 or 6 time even) for schmuck. Then people are surprise when they are lose doctor, healthcare plan, savings in bank, house, etcetra.

Boris is try to form facial expression of sympathy for Amerikansky but can you say, "you are only get what you are deserve."

two hoots's picture


It’s legacy, it’s law, too big to unwind, too complicated to restructure, too costly to support, too political to appeal. 


BurningFuld's picture

You are correct. The only option left is to raise everyone's premiums (again)!

redpill's picture

This is going exactly as planned.  Next up will be cries that the only option left is to go single payer.

onewayticket2's picture

we're beyond the tipping point....bc.....


ALL THESE ILLEGALS....From Syria to Mexico to who knows where.....flooding in....will ALL get fully subsidized healthcare...


Automatic Choke's picture

"We have to pass it to find out what is in it!"

That is the same thing my dog said right before he ate that tennis ball.....<and with similar results>....

Save_America1st's picture

yeah, and what was in it was the true trojan horse that most of us on here knew from the very beginning.  They sold the sheep-tards a load of crap deal wrapped in lies that only sheep-tards could fall for.  The biggest being that it was "Free". 

What the sheep-tards never realized was that this system was written and designed to do everything it has done to this point.  It's meant to sucker everyone in and force others who resist.  It's meant to cause costs of nearly everything bigger than a cotton swab to skyrocket in price.  It was meant to cause failures across the board in claims payments, expediency of appointments and scheduling operations, jam-ups at the ER's, frustration for doctors and nurses who many will ultimately quit the profession all together, and ultimately what obamacare was meant for was this:

To be so fucking bad in all ways possible so that the sheep-tards will then scream for help and will fall once again for more big government when the sociopaths roll out the next phase which is the single-payer 100% government screw job.

And that's how to topple the last free country on Earth with the tyranny of Socialism.

NuckingFuts's picture

The fucked up thing is that if government wasn't so fucked up, single payer could reduce the bloated buracracy. Stick with me here....
No VA hospitals
No Medicare
No Medicaid
No exchanges
No SSDI health benefits
No uninsured slobs going to ER and raising prices

I'm sure there is more, just show up with an ID and SS number and get healthcare, sounds great doesn't it? But .gov would only fuck it up. I'll keep dreaming and go to my GP who only takes cash, no insurance.

Liberal's picture

Why do doctors and nurses and researchers need to make money?  Why do any of us need to make money?  Why can't we just trust the government to distrubute wealth equally?  Look at North Korea.  They have the happiest citizens on the planet and their leader gets reelected over and over and over with some 100% of the vote because they are so happy.



macholatte's picture


In a speech before the Center for American Progress Mr. Obama said this about the Affordable Care Act and its eventual implosion leading to total government control:

"The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them."


The audience laughed and laughed.

Manthong's picture

I have told everyone that cares to talk about it , that the ACA was designed to explode the traditional health care market and leave everyone begging for the political gold ring,, single payer.

The collectivists are almost there now.

So now we get to go full U.K. NHS retard, then it will collapse and costs to the users will go up and then they will want to spin it off to whomever...

Wash, Rinse, Repeat... 


knukles's picture

Supporting Obama and his lik is like winning the Special Olympics.  You're still retarded

Keyser's picture

The US already has the highest health care insurance premiums of any country on the planet... As the old saying goes, you can't squeeze blood from a turnip... It makes one wonder what Obiwans legacy will truly be in 10 or 20 years... Most likely how one man brought down an entire country... Never has one person done so much damage in such a short period of time... A pox on the idiots that elected this fraud... 

macholatte's picture


you're worried about barry's legacy???

are you fuckig kidding me??


History is written by the victors.

Winston Churchill

847328_3527's picture

Maybe O'Bama will resign this week ... all his Legacy is going down the toilet -- Obamacare disaster, "It's Contained" disaster, thousands of refugees that even the Congressional intelligence committee admits cannot be seriously "vetted" since the simply don't have and/or can't get all the info they would need from the Syrian gubmint. Add to that, we see how well the French vetting turned out.

espirit's picture


(1) Offer to pay in fiat for services rendered.

(2) Offer to pay in Silver for services rendered.

(3) Offer to pay in Gold for services rendered.

kralizec's picture

This is all going according to design.

Next, more opt out, leaving the Government no other choice but to be the sole payer and arbiter of craddle-to-grave health.

Basically the transition from a free person to complete serf will be effected.

Parrotile's picture

Single-payer, like almost everywhere else on the Planet.

Think about it.

Less duplication,

Less need for "Oversight" (expensive bums-on-seats),

Less need to "pad" prices to compensate for inefficiencies (competition WASTES resources after all),

Less need for "Management" - Accountancy and Legal (VERY high-cost but nil benefit bums-on-seats)

No more "Advertising" budgets - no longer needed,

No more "sweetners / back-handers" to "lubricate commerce",

Centralised procurement - massive economies of scale,

Rational prescribing - not necessarily generics-only, but reduction in duplication withing activity classes (i.e. one or two Statins, rather than ten or twenty),

Nationwide integrated system for information exchange - you live in Washington, but have a car crash in Hawaii: I can access ALL your medical records (including imaging) via central repository, rather than having to "apply" to access records directly to your usual range of providers (often individually).

Seems better to me (along with most other "providers"), but trying to convince you Americans that maybe there are better ways of doing what you do, seems akin to tilting at windmills.


r00t61's picture

Listen genius,

Why would anyone in their right mind trust the government to implement single payer, when they're directly responsible for creating the Kafkaesque nightmare that's currently in place?

Oh, that's right - the solution to statist quagmires is obviously biggerer, moarer statism.  Thank you for amazing insight from your seat at the Politburo.

Parrotile's picture

Obviously you "like" your system :-)

You are welcome to keep it. Just another reason why visitors from "The Rest of the World" (Civilised edition) NEED $1 million++ Medical Insurance when they visit . . . .


Oldwood's picture

Every step of the way down this path to hell is cushioned by convenience and efficiency. Look at history and you can see it everywhere. Every increment of our loss of freedoms is sold to us as but another convenience and improved digital currency....a central bank.....income taxes automatically deducted from our pay checks.....surveillance for our own protection.....a central government....and much much more.

Manthong's picture

"Single-payer, like almost everywhere else on the Planet. Think about it."

aw geez..

I used to say that the military was the only thing that .gov did not F up, but after Shrub and O’bama that is no longer true.

ANYTHING .gov does is too expensive and too inefficient.

PLUS.. do you have even the remotest idea how much the ICD-10 program is costing the medical profession and how vulnerable your most intimate information is now?????

HIPPA is a scam.. do not resist - you have been assimilated.

Sanity Bear's picture

or you could try a free market, which is generally pretty good at getting very complicated economic questions sorted out in an organic, sustainable manner

MrBoompi's picture

We need doctors and drugs, we don't need insurance comanies.

DaveA's picture

Damn right, and don't even bother with ID and SS number. Anyone shows up needing health care, doctors treat him, send the bill to the government, and it is paid automatically with near-zero administrative cost. This would of course make doctors, and computer hackers pretending to be doctors, fabulously wealthy, but the Fed can always print another trillion!

undertow1141's picture

Bigger picture, at the point of single payer the govt will have to own the hospitals and drug companies to control prices to control costs. Single payer means our govt grows even more bloated and sick.

o r c k's picture

I hope he bounced back OK.

(the dog that ate the tennis ball)

NoDebt's picture

"Next up will be cries that the only option left is to go single payer."

Exactly.  Obama must be thrilled this planned implosion is going even faster than expected.  He might see it start to happen even before he leaves office.

t0mmyBerg's picture

Here were my choices.  No platinum plans going forward in my state from any insurer.  Currently I have Blue Cross Blue Access Platinum which has some copays but NO deductible.  About $1250 a month.  For next year (I have to buy in individual market, cannot get group due to small company size) they will keep me on the current plan which they no longer offer if I do nothing but the monthly premium goes up to $1900+, a 48% increase, OR I can buy a Gold plan with a $4000 deductible, for $1600+ or a 28% increase, but I will of course ALSO pay up to $4000 in deductible before that 28% increase buys me fuck all.  Net net, assuming I have more than $4000 in health expense, pretty safe assumption wuith two kids and bad knees, it is cheaper to stay on the same plan with a 48% increase, especially as the business pays it anyway.

I pray nightly as I lay me down to sleep that every fucker who voted for, signed or upheld this fucking legislation be taken personally by Satan himself to hell with burning fire covering every inch of their hides in perpetuity.

Fuck you and yours Oblowme

FreeNewEnergy's picture

Dude, here's a choice you left out:


I don't know how much you make, but $1250 a month is a good deal of money in many places. Tell your kids you'll give each of them $100 every month they don't have to go to a doctor and put another $100 in an acocunt you'll give them when they reach a certain age.

And your knees? Shit, I don't know, cut down on carbs, as in donuts or pizza, maybe. Not to impugn your character as you're probably a good guy, but why do you think paying more than $14k a year for health "care" is an option. Look for docs who will take cash. I'm sure you can find better deals in the open market.

And, for the rest of you nitwits who jsut cant stop paying for shit, STOP PAYING.

Fucking cheat on your taxes. It's the American way. In fact, the next time I go shopping, I;m going to make a point of asking the clerk why I should have to pay sales tax. Following whatever innocuous answer he/she may give, I intend to ask if they think they're getting their money's worth from said taxes.

Just open up some more minds. That too, is American.

STOP PAYING. Governments, from the feds all the way down to your local town or village, are wasting YOUR money.

lincolnsteffens's picture

Mr. Alatovkrap,

All ya gotta do is cut and paste a few lines in the over 2000 pages of the ACA. It is easy as containing ISIS. Please send in your suggestions to your favorite Congress Person and Pres.of US

Remember, we all have to pitch in and help. We can do it. We are all Americans in this.

Crash Overide's picture

Obamacare:     20,000ish pages

Tax Code:        73,954 pages

Constitution:    20 pages


One of these doesn't belong here because everyone ignores it... take a quess.

nmewn's picture

And...we told them it wouldn't work. And...we said NOTHING is Faaarrreee! in this life. And...we told them premiums & deductibles would skyrocket. And...we told them good, quality doctors would quit/retire en masse. And...we told them sick people would actually DIE when government screwed around with "healthcare". And...we told them HEALTH INSURANCE is not a right. And...we told them it's fundamentally wrong, dare I say CRIMINAL to force people to buy a product or service from a corporation under duress of a fine/tax/penalty from the government. And...we told them that youtz have very little money to be FORCED to buy from a private corporation to pay for old or sick people in the first place.

But no, motherfucking technocratic progressives know every-fucking-thing, they are fucking Einsteins who never tire of their social engineering, dominatrix bullshit. 

Fucking dumbasses.


And...while we're on the subject of retarded progressive ideas, they just range tested the Armatix iP1 "smart gun"...yeah you guessed it, moar fucking brilliance ;-)

chubakka's picture

and i vote twice against schmuck and i have to live with these idiots.  

Drop out's picture

Always making me laugh. You must be in The Peoples Cube as well. It is good. +1

inosent's picture

ok, im gonna die if i keep laughing

BaBaBouy's picture

The Dude in the picture is a Total Disaster...

Dadburnitpa's picture

Yeah.  It's just the first salvo of the coming taxpayer shakedown.

Arnold's picture

Fishing for moar subsities.

LowerSlowerDelaware_LSD's picture
LowerSlowerDelaware_LSD (not verified) UndergroundPost Nov 19, 2015 2:48 PM

Obviously we need more laws, more gubmint enforcement people with guns, and a MUCH larger IRS administering this in order to force you to buy the  product.  The progressives controlling gubmint have TOLD you that it is good for you.  And.... it's the law...

Buy Obamacare and like it.  Or go to jail.

Boris Alatovkrap's picture

Boris is help friends in USSA! Please, you are not go to jail! You are not pay penalty! You are NOT PAY OBAMACARE!

Best part, you are not pay doctor or utility company!

Here is form for waiver:

Please to note, if you are receive cutting notice on Utility or you are have unpaying bill from provider of healthcare service, you are receive waiver from mandate!

Please also to read:


Americkansky bureacracy is make Russia look like playground rule!

Boris Alatovkrap's picture

One more is thing... Maybe Amerikansky familyl is learn to perform suture, enema, minor epideral surgery, and if you are room, please keep x-ray machine on balcony for handy. Rubber hose with condom pull over diaphram is make for satisfactory stethascope.

lincolnsteffens's picture

Say Boris, thanks for the link to the gov. website. I found an exemption for those whose "income" is below the level to be required to file a tax return. Interestingly I have watched most of 12 hour video series    which explains that following the tax codes a Citizen born in one of the united States is not a "Taxpayer" with "income" unless he is working outside of the USA. The 1040 form is for "income" from non resident aliens earning income in the USA and Citizens of the USA  earning "income" in a foreign country. As everyone who buys stuff in America pays a sales, real estate etc. taxes they are "tax payers". Only some one who is subject to the "income" tax or volunteers to pay "income" tax is a "Taxpayer".

The IRS NEVER TELLS YOU THIS AND TRIES TO OBFUSCATE by omission or slight of hand. Just passing on information, not tax advice. It is all about the legal definitions not common usage words.