UnitedHealth to exit 2 state ACA exchanges: 5 things to know

UnitedHealth Group has decided to pull out of the Affordable Care Act exchanges in Arkansas and Georgia in 2017.

Here are five things to know about the Minnetonka, Minn.-based insurer's decision.

1. UnitedHealth began signaling it may exit state marketplaces last November. At that time, the health insurer lowered its profit estimate for 2015 and blamed an expected loss on selling individual policies on the ACA exchanges for the lower estimate. In January, UnitedHealth said it lost $720 million nationally on its individual market plans in 2015.

2. UnitedHealth's decision to pull out of the Arkansas and Georgia markets means people in those states currently enrolled in one of the insurer's marketplace plans will have to choose a new health insurance provider next year, according to Bloomberg.

3. Ana Gupta, PhD, an analyst at Leerink Partners, told Bloomberg UnitedHealth's decision to leave some state exchanges could boost the company's profits next year. "Exits from unprofitable markets will act as a tailwind to earnings," she said.

4. UnitedHealth spokesman Tyler Mason declined to tell Bloomberg whether the health insurer plans to drop out of exchanges in additional states.

5. Approximately 587,800 people in Georgia and about 73,600 people in Arkansas signed up for ACA coverage for this year. However, CMS does not disclose what health insurers people chose for coverage.

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