These are just not good signs for Obamacare. First, it was Blue Cross Blue Shield that announced they were pulling their PPO networks for individual plans and just offering a HMO. Thus, if you wanted BCBS, you were stuck with a HMO where you lose your ability to choose your doctor versus the more desired PPO plan where you have the power to choose.
That was a soft blow to Obamacare considering that Blue Cross Blue Shield didn’t completely pull out. Now, issuing a hard blow the biggest US health insurer is considering pulling out all together in 2017. United Healthcare announced that they could not continue to sustain hundreds of millions of dollars while participating in Obamacare. This story was originally reported by Bloomberg.
The “may quit in 2017” statement seems more like a for sure thing. They have already taken two steps to reduce the possibilities that people will chose them for health insurance. They have greatly reduced their marketing efforts and in many cases reduced commissions for agents that were already a small percentage to begin with. So unless someone picks out United healthcare on an exchange there probably won’t be much business generated by the agent community.
What is the reaction from other insurance companies?
“It’s way too early to call it quits on the ACA and on the exchanges,” Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini said on an Oct. 29 conference call. “We view it still as a big opportunity for the company.”
Then there is the spin from the Department of Health and Human Services. “Today’s statement by one issuer (United Healthcare) is not indicative of the Marketplace’s strength and viability.”
However, the reality is that Obamacare is a financial train wreck for everyone involved minus the special interest groups who had a say in how the plan was written. What does it say if the Nation’s largest health insurer drops out and probably the nation’s second biggest player had to take a drastic measure and drop their PPO? And…..all of this just prior to the third year?
The structure of Obamacare is broken. People are not signing up. It is already terribly unaffordable. Finally, the out of pocket costs on top of high premiums push healthcare costs past the tipping point. And……it is only the third year. Can you imagine what it will look like in 3 more years?