The biggest health insurer in the United States announced today that it may be exiting out of Obamacare health exchanges. And thousands of Alabamians could be affected.
United Healthcare says it’s lost about $475 million in the last year because of its decision to be a part of the Obamacare exchange. That’s because the company says, more people are using services than paying into the system.
Now Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act made it possible for millions of Americans to sign up regardless of pre-existing conditions.
But it only allows subscribers to sign up in the open enrollment period. The exit of United Healthcare means, that at the end of the year Alabama may only have two major providers, Humana, and Blue Cross Blue Shields. And as one insurance agent tells us, United Healthcare has already been slowly exiting Alabama since last year.
“They have been selling the product through the healthcare.gov exchange; they have not been using independent agents, since December. When United Healthcare decided to slow down its distribution of the product because they’re losing money as it was reported today,” said Robert Walsh, DBA Green Insurance Agency.
And of course, this adds fuel to critics who want to repeal Obamacare.
“When you have a major insurer like this one that just pulls out altogether, that’s a huge warning sign; that’s not going to crash the program, but it’s indicative of a problem that’s not being addressed in the program. Now, what happens when you have fewer people offering insurance? It’s like any other thing the fewer people that off the product or the service, the more the price goes up,” said Congressman Bradley Bryne, R-AL
But again Obamacare helped bring the percentage of uninsured Americans to the lowest it’s been in years. That’s supposed to change even more so, later this year, as those who are uninsured face higher fines, up to 1000 or more in some cases, if they don’t get compliant insurance. Of course, the law also has a lot of exceptions, and rules so this is just a look at one part.
News 5 will continue to follow this story and have more updates as it changes.