UnitedHealth Group confirmed it will no longer offer plans starting in 2017 on most of the 34 Exchanges where it currently operates. UnitedHealth entered into the Exchange markets slowly. It started with four states in 2014 but then quickly expanded to 23 in 2015 and further expanded to 34 states in 2016. Last November, the insurer warned it may exit some Exchanges due to substantial financial losses.
It has not announced on which Exchanges it plans to continue to operate; however, it has confirmed it will leave the Arkansas, Georgia and Michigan Exchanges. It remains to be seen whether UnitedHealth will continue to offer plans through Covered California.
Analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that UnitedHealth’s exit could significantly impact insurer competition in some markets, especially in rural areas or southern states. For example, their analysis found that the number of insurers in 29% of the counties in which UnitedHealth offers plans would drop from two to one.
The impact on California would be notable but not as dramatic. If United were to no longer offer plans through Covered California, the analysis shows that a total of 28 counties would see a drop in the number of insurers from three to two.