April 19, 2016

UnitedHealthcare leaving CT's insurance exchange

UnitedHealthcare is pulling out of Connecticut's and other state's public insurance exchanges, officials say.

UnitedHealthcare has informed officials at Access Health CT that it is exiting the exchange, leaving only three insurers left in the online marketplace: Anthem, ConnectiCare and HealthyCT. UnitedHealthcare, which has a strong presence in Hartford, has announced it is pulling out of health exchanges across the United States.

As of April 11, 2016, UnitedHealthcare had 1,477 Connecticut enrollees, representing 1.3 percent of Access Health's total enrollment. Sixty-one percent of those enrollees live in Fairfield County. In the small business market, UnitedHealthcare had 18 employers representing 124 residents. Between the second and third open enrollment periods, the number of enrollees in the UnitedHealthcare plan declined by 18 percent.

"We are confident that in the next open enrollment, all of our consumers will continue to find the healthcare plans that best meet their needs. State exchanges will have some fluctuation, but AHCT will continue to meet the needs of Connecticut residents," said Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, chair of the Access Health CT board.

An Access Health CT spokesperson said it is not known when UnitedHealthcare will leave the market. The insurer did not immediately return messages seeking comment. Acess Health plans to build in an extra step when it reaches out to its enrolled population for renewals in the upcoming renewal process in the late summer or early fall.

Anyone who is currently enrolled in a UnitedHealthcare policy will remain in that policy until Dec. 31, 2016. Beginning on Nov. 1, 2016 all United policyholders as well as other exchange customers will be able to come on the exchange and shop for a new plans for Jan. 1, 2017 effective dates, according to Access Health.

In Dec. 2015, UnitedHealthcare announced it would scale back marketing of its exchange plans for 2016, and would consider leaving the exchanges fully in 2017. In January, UnitedHealthcare said it lost $720 million on Affordable Care Act individual exchange health plans in 2015.

Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini said in March he supports Obamacare insurance exchanges, even though he recently questioned their sustainability.

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