Largest U.S. Health Insurer Is Done With Obamacare: UnitedHealth To Exit Most State Exchanges

Tyler Durden's picture

As conclusion to our article yesterday reporting on the largest U.S. health insurer's accelerating exodus from various Obamacare markets (it had already announced it was out of Georgie, Arkansas, Michigan and Oklahoma) we said that UnitedHealth "will likely announce more defections in the coming days."

We didn't have long to wait, and moments ago Bloomberg reported that in addition to the four states listed above, UnitedHealth has just announced it is departing the following "Affordable" Care Act state exchanges: Connecticut, North Carolina; Nebraska, Pennsylvania and Texas.

That, too, however, is just a preview of what's to come, because earlier today UnitedHealth made its divorce with Obamacare complete when it announed plans to exit most of the Affordable Care Act state exchanges where it currently operates by 2017.

During a conference call with analysts Tuesday, CEO Stephen Hemsley noted that "next year we will remain in only a handful of states."

As CNN reports, CEO Stephen Hemsley explained that UnitedHealth will leave most states by 2017 because the markets for these exchanges are relatively small and also have higher risks for the company over the short-term. As such, he said UnitedHealth (UNH) could not serve these exchanges on an "effective and sustained basis."

Said otherwise, the company is losing money by participating in Obamacare.

UnitedHealth's president and chief financial officer David Wichmann added that the company served 795,000 people on public exchanges as of the end of the first quarter. It expects to have only 650,000 public exchange members by December.

As CNN politely notes, "this could be a blow to President Obama and his signature law to overhaul the nation's healthcare system."

More importantly, it could be a blow to taxpayers because as we observed yesterday, according to estimates from the Kaiser Family Foundation, the exodus will almost surely mean higher insurance premiums in several states - most notably Alabama, Arizona, Iowa, Nebraska and North Carolina. It will also mean even higher subsidies.

Still, some remain optimistic: Cynthia Cox, associate director of health reform and private insurance at Kaiser, said this won't be the death of Obamacare. She noted that UnitedHealth has been more cautious about entering the ACA markets than its competitors. Hemsley had warned previously that claims tied to the Obamacare exchanges were costlier than expected. And other insurers that focus on Medicaid and Medicare pans, such as Centene (CNC), are more prominent players in the state exchanges.

Perhaps it's not the end for Obamacare, but it means even greater sticker shock for Americans once they get their premiums for 2017.  Recall that as a result of the merger between Aetna and Humana, and that of Cigna and Anthem, the industry is about to shrink from five players to only three.

This means much higher premiums.

It also means that mandatory Obamacare tax payments will keep "healthcare" spending as the biggest contributor to US GDP for years to come.

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NoDebt's picture

It's working perfectly.  Exactly as I planned.  Don't touch nothin'.


froze25's picture

Don't count out Untied Health Care, my guess is that they are using this to force "reform" (in their favor) the ACA. They are still scum and need to be watched.

WTFRLY's picture

Yea it is not going anywhere, it is a key part of the Joo World Order. Obamacare is far too important to the coming police state and economic collapse. Reform will be the "bipartisan" play.

Save_America1st's picture

yeah, let's not forget it was all the insurance companies like United who helped write O-Fuck-You-Who-Cares in the first place, knowing full on that costs to everyone would skyrocket.

O-Fuck-You-Who-Cares was designed to bring the pain and higher costs on purpose as a step closer towards the single-payer gov-scum system which is what they have all wanted in the first place.

So everything is still going as planned for these scumbags. 

nmewn's picture

I say again, I "hope" everyone of the fascists die a slow and painful death. From Roberts on down to include that insipid little fucktard Pajamas Boy.

johnnymustardseed's picture

So sad for United Healthcare they made $5.8 BILLION last year and that is not enough!! They are not about Healthcare at all, they are all about rewarding stockholders . Fuck them!

Paveway IV's picture

The only way United Healthcare makes money is by raising premiums. If they can't raise premiums fast enough by themselves, then they will simply exit the markets and return when they can under-gouge everyone else. 

You have to undersatand how United Healthcare thinks. They're kind of like their neighbor Cargill. They don't claw their way through the competition. They dip their toe in the water, then sit back and wait. When they can move in and totally dominate a market, control prices and buy their distressed competition, then they'll dive in.

They didn't drop by for a swim today. They dropped by to figure out how to own the pool in five years. 

They will 'leave' these markets for all of about three or four years. By then premiums for even the cheapest plans will have doubled. United Healthcare will have analyzed enough data by then to know which markets will be the most lucrative without having had to lose money for three or for years like everyone else. They will end up owning many of the companies that were foolish enough to tough it out. 

When United Healthcare can get $5/day from every man, woman and child in the U.S. for healthcare insurance, they'll be happy. The 'market' is only about half-way there now.

Edit: I just saw your post below, WorkingClassMan. You're describing the second-oldest professioin on earth: extortion. Protection rackets. That's what United Healthcare DOES. Do you think they would be in business if their goal was to make affordable healthcare insurance available to all Americans? You don't just push the mafia out of business. You just shut up and pay them or go out of the business yourself. The mob desn't have a Complaint Department for you if you don't like their extortion. Well, they do - but the waiting room is inside a concrete-filled 55-gallon drum at the bottom of the Hudson, and waiting times are long.

The government couldn't go full-socialist themselves (yet). so United Healthcare stepped up to the plate as one of their hired mercenaries. UH thinks in terms of territories, just like the mob. They're waiting for the other gangs to destroy themselves.

Freddie's picture


United Healthcare are tota andl evil scum.

nmewn's picture

I say again, I "Hope" every crony-socialist prick  (to include Pajamas Boy) dies a slow, agonizing death.

Rot in he'll fuckers.

nmewn's picture

I say again, I "Hope" every crony-socialist prick  (to include Pajamas Boy) dies a slow, agonizing death.

Rot in hell fuckers.

WorkingClassMan's picture

"Watched?"  They need to be pushed out of business.  They--these insurance scumpanies--are useless middlemen and bloodsuckers of the middle and working-classes.  Between them and the goobermint and our third-world population bleeding our healthcare system dry, it's no wonder middle and working-class people like me have to turn down medical care because of costs because we're forced to get high-deductible insurance that isn't worth squat unless your liver explodes, your spleen ruptures, your eyes fall out and your heart drops through your backside--all at once.  For anything else, you're on the hook completely, totally, and directly.


Yay Amerikwa!

sessinpo's picture

Failure was designed into it. UH and other companies want to become entities of the government, and thus government employees. That is what insurance companies get out of it - eventually. Government gets more control.  Insurance Companies win/government wins/people lose.

nuubee's picture

It is working perfectly, Obamacare was set up to fail, so that those same people could say, "Well, we tried to work with the greedy heartless capitalists, it didn't work, so we need a single-payer system! No free market solutions exist for this problem! Trust us!"

froze25's picture

You are right sir, single payer has been the objective all along.

jus_lite_reading's picture

Hey, single payer ain't all that bad bro. I'm quitting my job, cashing out of everything and going to live FULL off the sweet gov tit until this whole motherfucker burns to the ground. Then open season begins, we take out the trash and start fresh. All liberals, communists, SJW's, Black Lies Matters retards get free one way tickets to sunny Venezuela or tropical Cuba. For the extra hard core, they get 5 star accomidations in North Korea or Iraq.

JohnG's picture

I was talking to my brother about that last night.  We figure that if we give everything to our other brother, we can become jufgement proof and abuse the living shit out of thier system until it collapses.  I meal full retard abuse - run up mortgages, credit cards, and default.  Sign up for as much food stamps and welfare as we can possibly get.  Run this fucker into the ground.

Problem is, we're white.  And we need 30+ million helpers to go along with the same plan.

There should also be shootings involved......

jus_lite_reading's picture

Give it time my friend. Evolution is occurring right before your very eyes.

N0TaREALmerican's picture
N0TaREALmerican (not verified) jus_lite_reading Apr 19, 2016 3:00 PM

Re:  going to live FULL off the sweet gov tit


Well, besides Big-Welfare,  you can live off of Big-Ag, Big-MIC, Big-FIN, Big-Ed, Big-PoliceState, Big-Energy, Big-Road or something like that.   And,  you can be any color you like.   

City_Of_Champyinz's picture

It is working as designed.  Obamacare was passed in order to bankrupt the private health insurance companies so that the corrupt federal bureaucracy can 'take over' and make the healthcare system as terrible as possible for the average citizen.

NEOSERF's picture

Exactly, bait and switch...someone had a closed door deal with United that got them in with the okay to back out within 3 years and the US will be left with no private insurerers and will have to take it over.  Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, Nationalized medicine which will happen under Hillary because healthcare costs are a budget buster and the government has to "get control over it". 

Occams_Chainsaw's picture

You are almost there.  It was essentially designed to take what little the middle class had left.  It's working perfectly.  We will have our utopia of the wealthy oligarchs and them poor people.

WorkingClassMan's picture

These insurance scumpanies aren't goin anywhere.  They helped WRITE Obummercare/Romneycare.  They know what they're doing, they have everything mapped out from whether to cover a procedure or not to whether to stay in the exchange or not.  And their guiding principle is not to benefit the patient or custumer, but to squeeze the maximum amount of money out in premiums while providing the lowest level of care and service possible.  Their hope is that you die before you really need major healthcare on an ongoing basis.

These scumpanies aren't altruists or even decent businessmen...they're rapacious bottom-feeders looking for a quick buck and hostages to bilk.

Laddie's picture

In all seriousness it IS working perfectly from their perspective.

The 1965 Immigration Act killed America, the people had no idea.

Obamacare is yet ANOTHER wealth transfer from US, the White populace, to the people of color. At the same time .gov is, effectively, killing off the Golden Goose, i.e. White America. I tell you there is a METHOD to their MADNESS.

NoDebt's picture

Yeah, I wasn't just making a funny with that comment.  It is actually doing exactly what it's supposed to do- fail, so that they can replace it with a single-payer (government) healthcare system.  

V.A.- quality healthcare for everyone.  Coming soon to a theater near you.

GUS100CORRINA's picture

As a God Honoring American Patriot, I am so sick of the BS coming out of Washington DC. Healthcare ... what a disaster and a tragedy!!! I think it is time to throw the bumbs out and start over. Maybe there will be a 8.0 earthquake in Washington DC when both houses are in session, the executive branch is in office and the Supreme Court is in session.

End the torture. "My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge. When the righteous rule, the people rejoice. But when the Wicked rule, the people moan." Guess what book these quotes came from? I will give you a hint from information below.

[Num 16:30 NKJV] 30 "But if the LORD creates a new thing, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them up with all that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the pit, then you will understand that these men have rejected the LORD."

Yes GOD does use the earth to deal with nations, leadership and people when He has had enough!

I believe GOD is almost there. To quote Thomas Jefferson: "I tremble for my country when I know that GOD is just and his justice cannot sleep forever",

Enough said!!!!

hongdo's picture

Absolutely.  Fail Obamacare and drive everyone into a single payer system run by the govt - and then the govt will determine who is allowed health care.  And who is allowed drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, sugar, meat, coffee, gas, toilet paper, etc.  Voila we have instant Venezuela.

DonFromWyoming's picture

I don't feel one bit of sorrow for UNC or their shareholders.  They particpated in the scam of creating the ACA - and now the chickens come home to roost.  BooHoo.

KnuckleDragger-X's picture

Gee...who could have seen this coming?

NoDebt's picture

You'll all be begging for single payer healthcare soon.


N0TaREALmerican's picture
N0TaREALmerican (not verified) Apr 19, 2016 2:11 PM

Three "competitors" now,   soon down to one "competitor". 

Hyper Entropy's picture

"We have to pass the bill to see what's in it." LULZ...

jus_lite_reading's picture

More insurers drop out, prices rise. Prices rise, more people decide to take the penalty payment. Price rise again, more insurers drop out, price rise again. GAME OVER for OSHITcare. RIP 2018

RAT005's picture

Right now the penalty is not enforceable.  It's not comfortable, that's for sure.

pods's picture

They sucked up every last dollar in premiums  and now are jetting before the check comes due.

This collapse is Epic though. Kinda getting that doom-porn tuggle in the sweats.


Yes We Can. But Lets Not.'s picture

This clown Obama tripled my premiums while inducing me to take a higher deductible.

Barack Obama truly has been The Amateur.  But hey, at least stocks are up!

Shadow1275's picture

Another Socialist Triumph!


Keep crapping on society Socialists, I'll just sit back, break open a bottle of whisky, and continue to laugh at your stupidity.

N0TaREALmerican's picture
N0TaREALmerican (not verified) Shadow1275 Apr 19, 2016 2:14 PM

Romney is a socialist?  

undertow1141's picture

Yes he is. Mormonism teaches communal thinking and values. Or are you still thinking the red blue thing is real?

skinwalker's picture

You're gonna need a lot of whisky. 

TradingIsLifeBrah's picture
TradingIsLifeBrah (not verified) Apr 19, 2016 2:14 PM

Perfect set up toward the Commie government of Bernie Sanders.  All the private health insurers leave, only leaves one person to do the job, the all-Knowing Government.  Forward Comrades! 

youngman's picture

Its got to be worse in the hospitals...

fewer doctors...

less care...just a bandaid more new hip replacementsfor the 80 year olds...

N0TaREALmerican's picture
N0TaREALmerican (not verified) youngman Apr 19, 2016 2:28 PM

Hey, hold on a second here buddy...   I'm almost ready to get my Medicare and I'll let you know that's ENTIRELY different than Obama care.    Medicare is NOT socialism, because it helps the old people, not those goddamn trash-class losers.     As soon as I'm on Medicare I'm going to load-up on all the free medical care I can handle because I EARNED that. 

ZeroPoint's picture

Watch Obongo double down, and raise the penalty to 10%.


1stepcloser's picture

10% cake walk..  if you had existing coverage premiums are up 100%.   Back in 2007 I paid $87 for family coverage per pay.  Now I'm Paying $350.  Forward!

John_Coltrane's picture

Get real.  They have no way to know whether you have covereage or not.  Further, no one with a brain pays any penalty.  They just make sure they owe the government, not the other way, come tax time.  I'll never have to pay either penalty or premiums.    Then, there is no legal mechanism to collect the so-called "penalty".  You need to have a refund so they can collect.  Why do people not understand this after so many ZH articles explaining it?  Just pay for conceirge care (pay directly to the doctor) when you actually need care.  The best doctors and specialists in both the US and the socialist EU have already opted out of insurance payments-cash only.  Insurance is a scam-don't be a mark and then complain they are "making too much profit".  This is like going to Vegas and then complaining you lost so much money since you were too stupid to understand odds and probability and so the "evil" casino made too much.

I don't trust any person or company which isn't in it for the profits.  The solution to too much profit is competition.  Its called capitalism and it really works if the government just butts out.

buzzsaw99's picture

uncle tombama sez git back in the kitchin bitchez.

BarkingCat's picture

He will be out of office when this piece of shit really starts falling apart.

BarkingCat's picture

He will be out of office when this piece of shit really starts falling apart.

Cman5000's picture

This business will get out of control. It will get out of control and we'll be lucky to live through it.Death Panels await.

wmbz's picture

The Ins. companies were first in line to lick Obozo's nuts, when they heard he was going to force us all into buying so called "health care".

Fuck each and everyone of these bastards! Eat shit and die bitches.