KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Largest U.S. Insurer To Be Major Obamacare Player In 2015

Insurance giant UnitedHealthcare said Thursday that it would sell policies through online insurance markets in as many as 24 states next year, up from only four this year.

The Associated Press: Largest US Insurer's Move Signals Industry Shift
The nation's largest health insurer expects to play a much bigger role in the health care overhaul next year, as the federal law shifts from raising giant questions for the sector to offering growth opportunities. UnitedHealth Group said Thursday that it will participate in as many as 24 of the law's individual health insurance exchanges in 2015, up from only four this year (Murphy, 7/17).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Biggest Insurer Drops Caution, Embraces Obamacare
UnitedHealthcare, the insurance giant that largely sat out the health law's online marketplaces' first year, said Thursday it may sell policies through the exchanges in nearly half the states next year (Hancock, 7/17).

The Wall Street Journal: UnitedHealth Tops Expectations, Raises Outlook
UnitedHealth said it would expand its presence in the health law's marketplaces to "as many as two dozen" states in 2015, when it expects a "better risk vintage"—likely meaning that enrollees won't be so heavily weighted toward those with high-cost medical conditions. The company is in just four states' individual exchanges. The insurer said that despite a smoothed re-enrollment process for those who already have the marketplace plans, it believes current enrollees will still shop around during this fall's open enrollment period, and it also expects to do well among new sign-ups (Calia and Wilde Mathews, 7/17).

Reuters: United Health Plans To Be Major Obamacare Player In 2015
UnitedHealth Group Inc, after wading cautiously into Obamacare insurance exchanges this year, on Thursday vowed to become a major player, participating in as many as two dozen state exchanges in 2015 and growing from there. Shares of the largest U.S. health insurer, which reported sharply higher-than-expected second-quarter results earlier in the day, were up 2.8 percent at $86.14 in afternoon trading after hitting a 52-week high of $87.22. UnitedHealth participates in about a dozen exchanges under the federal Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama's signature healthcare legislation. The company offers insurance to both individuals and small groups (Pierson, 7/17).

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