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The nation’s largest health insurer, UnitedHealth Group, will stop selling individual Obamacare plans in Indiana next year.
The company, which has previously said it was losing hundreds of millions of dollars on the exchanges around the nation, will no longer offer policies on the individual marketplace here as of Jan. 1.
"We will not be offering individual exchange plans in 2017 in Indiana. This change does not impact our commercial and Medicare plans," UnitedHealth spokewoman Maria Gordon Shydlo wrote in an email, without further comment.
The move raises questions about how many insurers will offer individual plans on the marketplace, and whether the disappearance of large players could cause premiums to rise for lack of competition.
UnitedHealth, based in Minnesota, had sold plans on the exchange through a company called All Savers Insurance Co., which is legally based in Indianapolis.
Indiana was All Savers’ second-biggest market for growth during the first nine months of last year, pulling in $129 million in premiums, up from $12.2 million during the same period a year earlier.
In addition, UnitedHealth is not going to sell individual plans off of the marketplace, according to the Indiana Department of Insurance.
In April, UnitedHealth said it would drop out of all but a “handful” of state exchanges where it sells individual Obamacare plans. It had said the exchange market was smaller and riskier than it had expected. It has said it expects to lose $650 million on the plans this year. UnitedHealth sold coverage in 34 states on the Obamacare exchanges.
Another health insurer, Southeastern Indiana Health Organization (SIHO), also will not sell on the on the individual marketplace next year, nor will it sell small group insurance, the insurance department said.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama's signature domestic policy initiative, is projected to cover about 12 million people this year, according to the Congressional Budget Office. But it has proven volatile for health insurances selling coverage in the new markets.
In November, UnitedHealth officials told investors that premiums for Obamacare exchanges came with too many medical claims.
UnitedHealth had about 795,000 customers of Obamacare’s exchanges as of March 31.
Roughly half of the health insurers selling on the Obamacare exchange in Indiana were losing money on that business last year, according to third-quarter financial filings with the state insurance department.