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"It was a splendid population - for all the slow, sleepy, sluggish-brained sloths stayed at home - you never find that sort of people among pioneers - you cannot build pioneers out of that sort of material. It was that population that gave to California a name for getting up astounding enterprises and rushing them through with a magnificent dash and daring and a recklessness of cost or consequences, which she bears unto this day - and when she projects a new surprise the grave world smiles as usual and says, "Well, that is California all over."

- - - - Mark Twain (Roughing It)

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Obamacare Disaster - UnitedHealthcare to pull out of California

Another Obama Victory

(PBS.org)  -  UnitedHealth Group Inc. is leaving California’s insurance exchange at the end of this year, state officials confirmed Tuesday.

The nation’s largest health insurer announced in April it was dropping out of all but a handful of 34 health insurance marketplaces it participated in. But the company had not discussed its plans in California.

UnitedHealth’s pullout also affects individual policies sold outside the Covered California exchange, which will remain in effect until the end of December.

“United is pulling out of California’s individual market including Covered California in 2017,” said Amy Palmer, a spokeswoman for the state exchange.

It’s expected that UnitedHealth will continue offering coverage to employers in California and to government workers and their families through the California Public Employees’ Retirement System.

Representatives of UnitedHealth didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday. In April, UnitedHealth’s Chief Executive Stephen Hemsley said the company was unwilling to keep losing money on the exchange business overall.

“The smaller overall market size and shorter term, higher-risk profile within this market segment continue to suggest we cannot broadly serve it on an effective and sustained basis,” Hemsley said in a conference call with investors in April.

UnitedHealth just joined the California exchange this year, and it only had about 1,200 enrollees so the immediate impact on overall coverage numbers is minimal. The number of individual policyholders outside the state exchange wasn’t immediately known.

Palmer said UnitedHealth policyholders will know their options for 2017 coverage when health plans and rates for next year are announced in July.

Critics of the Affordable Care Act have seized on the company’s exit, state by state, as further evidence the health-law insurance exchanges aren’t sustainable financially and that premiums will rise even higher for consumers.

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