UnitedHealth expects $500 million loss on Obamacare in 2016

The company is considering an exit from the market in 2017.
By Ed Adamczyk Follow @adamczyk_ed Contact the Author   |   Jan. 20, 2016 at 7:45 AM

MINNETONKA , Minn., Jan. 20 (UPI) -- UnitedHealth, the largest insurance provider in the United States, said it expects to lose over $500 million in 2016 on its Affordable Care Act policies.

The figures come after it reported it lost $475 million complying with Obamacare in 2015 and is considering an exit from the market in 2017, citing higher-than-expected claims. Although it reduced advertising and agents' commissions and increased prices on the policies, enrollments continued to grow.

At issue, parent company UnitedHealthcare Group said Tuesday, was the large number of members who sign up outside the prescribed open enrollment periods. These customers typically enroll when a health problem emerges, and they use many medical services. Federal officials said Tuesday six "special enrollment" windows, not part of the general enrollment period, would be eliminated.

Enrollments through the Affordable Care Act are a small fraction of UnitedHealth's policies. It said it has placed $225 million in "premium deficiency reserve" to accommodate the expected losses.

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