Opinion

Health exchanges show cracks in Obamacare

A Daily Mail editorial from the Charleston Gazette-Mail 

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Public health care exchanges, the centerpiece of President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, seem to be in jeopardy.

According to the Associated Press, UnitedHealth, the nation’s largest health insurer, said Thursday it would pull back on marketing its plans available through the marketplace to offset an expected $275 million in losses next year.

“We cannot sustain these losses,” UnitedHealth CEO Stephen Hemsley told the AP. “We can’t really subsidize a marketplace that doesn’t appear at the moment to be sustaining itself.”

State-based health insurance exchanges allow individual customers to purchase health insurance plans compatible with the ACA. They also, theoretically, help insurance companies to grow, but also open those companies to some risk. According to the AP, many companies “didn’t know whether the new business would attract enough healthy customers to balance the expected enrollment of sicker customers who had not been able to find coverage before.”

In West Virginia, Highmark is the only insurance company to operate on the health care exchange. As company president Fred Earley told Metronews earlier this month, the insurer almost pulled out of the marketplace partly because of profit loss…

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