While this has garnered alot of attention around the country and in the press and media, it is no surprise to anyone in the industry. “The smaller overall market size and shorter-term higher risk profile within this market segment continue to suggest we cannot broadly serve it on an effective and sustained basis,” said CEO Stephen Hemsley in the company’s quarterly earnings conference call.
While United covers more Americans for health insurance than any other private insurer, it has only been a bit player in the individual/exchange marketplace; most of its members are corporate plans.
A big part of the problem that was completely expected by industry experts is that the exchanges are “adversely selected” meaning that they have sicker enrollees. “So as we look at it, the early indications on the health status of the members appears to be a little bit worse,” said UnitedHealthcare CFO Daniel Schumacher. The original expectations of the administration was that younger members that were healthier would offset this problem, but they have not enrolled as expected.