You can’t say UnitedHealth didn’t warn us.
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Tracking the slow motion trainwreck of Obamacare has become one of our preferred hobbies: below is just a random sample of headlines covering just the most recent tribulations of the “we have to pass it to find out what’s in it” Unaffordable Care Act:
- In Latest Obamacare Fiasco, Most Low-Income Workers Can’t Afford “Affordable Care Act”
- The Stunning “Explanation” An Insurance Company Just Used To Boost Health Premiums By 60%
- Your Health Insurance Premiums Are About To Go Through The Roof -The Stunning Reason Why
- Obama Promised Healthcare Premiums Would Fall $2,500 Per Family; They Have Climbed $4,865
- Largest Health Insurer On Colorado Exchange Abruptly Collapses
- Co-Op Insurers Across America Are Collapsing, And Now There Is Fraud
- “$19,000 Premiums, Up 4x Since Passage”: The ‘Crippling Effect’ Of Obamacare On The Middle Class
- Meet The Family That Just Spent Half Its Annual Income Paying For Obamacare
But the most surprising article we wrote was our explanation from last November explaining why “Your Health Insurance Premiums Are About To Go Through The Roof” showing that even insurance companies have been unable to earn a profit under Obamacare, as shown in the following chart:
This was a stunning revelation because, after all, the Affordable Care Act was largely drafted by the insurance industry itself, and if for whatever reason, it itself was unable to capitalize on Obamacare, then it has truly been a disaster.
It all came to a head in late November of last year when none other than the U.S.’s biggest health insurer, UnitedHealth, cut its 2015 earnings forecast with a warning that it was considering pulling out of Obamacare, just one month after saying it would expand its presence in the program. At the time UnitedHealth Group said it would scale back marketing efforts for plans it’s selling this year under the Affordable Care Act, and may quit the business entirely in 2017 because it has proven to be more costly than expected.
In a statement, UnitedHealth said that “the company is evaluating the viability of the insurance exchange product segment and will determine during the first half of 2016 to what extent it can continue to serve the public exchange markets in 2017.”
Needless to say, the implications for Obamacare – which had seen a surge in problems over the past year – were dire: As Bloomberg reported at the time, “a pull-back would deal a significant blow to President Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement. While UnitedHealth has been slower than some of its rivals to sell Obamacare policies since new government-run marketplaces for the plans opened in late 2013, the announcement may indicate that other insurers are struggling.”
“If one of the largest and presumably, by reputation and experience, the most sophisticated of the health plans out there can’t make money on the exchanges, then one has to question whether the exchange as an institution is a viable enterprise,” Sheryl Skolnick, an analyst at Mizuho Securities said at the time. UnitedHealth further said it suspended marketing its individual exchange plans and is cutting or eliminating commissions for brokers who sell the coverage.
Fast forward to today, this largest U.S. health insurer, announced it has decided to pull the plug on two state Obamacare markets.