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UnitedHealth dropping ACA coverage in N.J. for 2017

By Doug G. Ware
President Barack Obama signs an Executive Order for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act' in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., on March 24, 2010. Wednesday, UnitedHealth Group announced it will not participate in the federal program in New Jersey in 2017 -- the 27th state the insurer will have left since the law's adoption. Photo by Pete Souza/The White House/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/59c5979869919a927d16ed9a59dfaade/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
President Barack Obama signs an Executive Order for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act' in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., on March 24, 2010. Wednesday, UnitedHealth Group announced it will not participate in the federal program in New Jersey in 2017 -- the 27th state the insurer will have left since the law's adoption. Photo by Pete Souza/The White House/UPI | License Photo

MINNETONKA, Minn., May 18 (UPI) -- UnitedHealth Group is pulling out of the Affordable Care Act in New Jersey -- which makes the state the 27th in the nation to see the company's coverage exit the federal health care exchange.

UnitedHealth's Oxford Health Plans unit won't be a part of New Jersey's individual market next year, according to a letter obtained Wednesday by Bloomberg.

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The move is expected to affect fewer than 5 percent of the nearly 300,000 New Jersey residents who signed up for 2016 coverage, based on Oxford's 2015 enrollment.

A spokesman for New Jersey's Department of Banking & Insurance said the company will still offer coverage to small businesses and employers outside the federal exchange, Bloomberg reported.

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Earlier this year, UnitedHealth said it would only offer coverage in a "handful" of states for 2017, although those states have not been specified. New York, Virginia and Nevada, however, are three states that appear to have the company contracted for participation next year.

UnitedHealth has previously stated that it is difficult to offer coverage through the Obama administration's health care law and indicated that it would exit the program unless a more efficient business model could be developed.

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Prior to New Jersey, UnitedHealth has announced 2017 departures from ACA exchanges in 26 other states. For 2016, the insurer offered ACA plans in 34 states.

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The company, which serves 70 million Americans, said it has suffered financial losses from participation in the program and also threatened to leave all of the exchanges by 2017. In January, UnitedHealth reported anticipated losses of $1 billion in 2015 and 2016.

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