Last week when UnitedHealth announced it was withdrawing from two markets, the excuse-mongering was predictable. We were assured that UnitedHealth was only getting out of Georgia and Arkansas, and anyway, they aren’t a big player on any of the ♡bamaCare!!! exchanges. And I suppose all of that is true enough.
On the other hand, if it’s possible for a coal mine canary to sit on the tip of an iceberg, that’s what last week’s UnitedHealth story looks like after reading today’s news:
Insurers say they are losing money on their ObamaCare plans at a rapid rate, and some have begun to talk about dropping out of the marketplaces altogether.
“Something has to give,” said Larry Levitt, an expert on the health law at the Kaiser Family Foundation. “Either insurers will drop out or insurers will raise premiums.”
While analysts expect the market to stabilize once premiums rise and more young, healthy people sign up, some observers have not ruled out the possibility of a collapse of the market, known in insurance parlance as a “death spiral.”
In the short term, there is a growing likelihood that insurers will push for substantial premium increases, creating a political problem for Democrats in an election year.
Insurers have been pounding the drum about problems with ObamaCare pricing.
People can’t afford to buy plans they don’t need from insurers who can’t afford to keep selling them, because of the Affordable Care Act.
That Means It’s Working™