UnitedHealth, Aetna, Cigna to Sit Out of California's Health Insurance Exchange

While California's largest health insurers, Kaiser Permanente, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of California, will offer plans on the state's health insurance exchange opening in October, three of the nation's largest for-profit insurers will not, according to a report by the Los Angeles Times.

UnitedHealth Group, Aetna and Cigna will not participate in year one of Covered California, the online marketplace where an estimated 5 million customers will buy coverage next year. While they are among the five largest U.S. health insurers, they have comparatively small market shares in California in the individual and small business market. In 2011, the three held a combined 7 percent of the state's individual health plans, compared with the top three non-profit insurers who held a collective 87 percent of that market, according to the report.

Spokespersons quoted in the report implied their companies intended to monitor the California market in the first year while they offered plans in other state exchanges.

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