The PJ Tatler

Two of the Nation's Top Four Health Insurers Quit California's Individual Market

On June 18, Aetna announced that it would leave California’s individual health insurance market. Today, UnitedHealth joined them.

The nation’s largest health insurer, UnitedHealth Group Inc., is leaving California’s individual health insurance market, the second major company to exit in advance of major changes under the Affordable Care Act.

UnitedHealth said it had notified state regulators that it would leave the state’s individual market at year-end and force about 8,000 customers to find new coverage. Last month, Aetna Inc., the nation’s third-largest health insurer, made a similar move affecting about 50,000 existing policyholders.

Both companies will keep a major presence in California, focusing instead on large and small employers.

Together, Aetna and UH only represent about 7% of the individual health insurance market in California. But still, the fact that two very large insurers are leaving the nation’s largest, and among the most heavily regulated, markets is significant. Both cite the cost of doing business in California among the reasons for leaving. Their current customers will have to find an alternative by January 1 or face ObamaCare’s fines.

The Nirvana of ObamaCare promised lower rates, more access and we could all keep our doctors if we wanted. The reality is turning out to be less choice, higher prices and doctors leaving the medical profession in droves.

Some of us predicted that this would be the outcome.