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This comes from Kaiser Health News.

UnitedHealthcare, the largest insurance company in the nation that largely refused to participate in the Affordable Care Act exchanges in the first year, has decided to join the system on November 15, 2014, the date on which the new open enrollment period begins. In the first year of the ACA, UHC sold individual policies on only four state exchanges, but it plans to do so on at least two dozen in the second year.

The reason for the turnabout?

The answer, the bosses said, is that the marketplaces look sustainable, even without some of the reinsurance and risk-spreading backstops put in place for carriers in the first few years. They know the prices now, they said. They know the regulations. They know how consumers are behaving.

“We felt that the markets that we’re looking at now are much more established,” said Gail Boudreaux, who runs UnitedHealth Group’s insurance division.“We’ve always felt that it was part of our strategy and plan – that this is a good, long-term market.”

This bodes well for future premium rate increases, as UHC's participation will insure greater competition among insurance companies and, thus, help to keep rates lower.
A recent paper by economists Leemore Dafny, Jonathan Gruber and Christopher Ody found that if UnitedHealthcare had sold policies through the exchanges this year in every state where it already does business, premiums would have been 5 percent lower.
This is good news for the continued success of the Affordable Care Act.

Originally posted to Rolandz on Fri Jul 18, 2014 at 08:13 PM PDT.

Also republished by Obamacare Saves Lives.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Can't Afford to Watch Its Market Walk Away (18+ / 0-)

    UHC was basically allowing an entirely new ecology of health insurance providers establish itself by not getting into the market in the first place.  Undoubtedly, it hoped that the whole ACA effort would somehow implode and gambled it would by not participating.  Now, it needs to make up for lost time and effort.  Its delay will likely cost it more money, since it will need to offer some incentive for people to search for and change to new insurance carriers.  Sometimes it does not pay to consume your own BS too much.

    "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

    by PrahaPartizan on Fri Jul 18, 2014 at 08:39:00 PM PDT

  •  Good. Hope they come back into CA. I had them in (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mary Mike, JamieG from Md

    the past and was happy with it.

    if a habitat is flooded, the improvement for target fishes increases by an infinite percentage...because a habitat suitability index that is even a tiny fraction of 1 is still infinitely higher than zero, which is the suitability of dry land to fishes.

    by mrsgoo on Fri Jul 18, 2014 at 08:48:22 PM PDT

  •  Why don't I believe this part? (8+ / 0-)
    “We’ve always felt that it was part of our strategy and plan – that this is a good, long-term market.”
    They always felt?  Coulda fooled me.  
    /Cynicism

    Glad to hear they've come to their senses.

    "Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress Chris Christie. But I repeat myself." ~ Mark Twain, (with a twist) ;o)

    by Terre on Fri Jul 18, 2014 at 09:19:49 PM PDT

  •  While I agree as a consumer this is good news, ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PrahaPartizan, MadMs

    While I agree as a consumer this is good news, as a provider UHC sucks ass with shitty reimbursement and far too many hoops and ridiculous paperwork to jump through. It wasn't uncommon for it to take us up to 10 months just to get 50 lousy fucking dollars in reimbursement from them. This was, of course, done deliberately on their part. When we broke down our annual numbers, it resulted in a net loss for us each time we saw a UHC patient. Our unfortunate decision was to stop seeing UHC covered patients because of this company's bullshit.

  •  ACA is such a market-based idea. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PrahaPartizan

    The Repubs are idiots for not embracing it as their own.

  •  Good news. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lawrence, buffie, PrahaPartizan

    Now we jus have to figure out how to keep control of the US Senate.

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    by khyber900 on Sat Jul 19, 2014 at 01:49:33 AM PDT

  •  I have UHC (0+ / 0-)

    I have UHC as a COBRA plan.  I will be moving to Medicare in the early part of winter.  I have been extremely pleased with the customer service of UHC.  They have consistently helped me graciously, and called me back when they said that they would, even if they didn't yet have the answer to my questions.  I'm still fighting for a few hundred dollars of reimbursement for a procedure in January, 2014,  but UHC has gone to bat for me on this, doing research, getting part of it paid for.  The hangup is my clinic, which has submitted the codes incorrectly, according to UHC.  UHC can't give me the correct codes because that would be fraudulent.

    UHC has paid out probably at least $75,000 in the last three years for my health problems.  (Yeah that's why your bills have gone up.)

    I will seriously consider a UHC plan for my medicare supplement insurance due to the customer service.  

    That said, I did take notice that UHC didn't go into the exchange in Minnesota, even though they are partly based here.  Some commentators have figured that the companies who didn't enter the exchanges wanted the sickest people to sign up the first year, and then the remaining companies could swoop in later and pick up those who are not so ill.  

    I've also seen references in news articles of an extremely high salary for the CEO of UHC.  The figures I've seen are all over the place, so I'm not mentioning any numbers here.  But lets just say that they could fund surgeries for hundreds with that salary range. Why is it necessary to pay our hard earned money for premiums and have it go to one man's salary.  I'm paying $503/month.  My husband was paying $503/ month until he got old enough for Medicare.  Remember, COBRA is buying your previous insurance for up to 18 months after you are not employed any longer.  

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