United lost $720M on ObamaCare exchanges last year

Getty Images

UnitedHealthCare Group, the nation’s largest insurer, is upping its projected losses from ObamaCare even as its overall fourth-quarter earnings beat investors’ expectations.

The company lost $720 million on the newly established ObamaCare exchanges last year, according to a much-anticipated earnings report released Tuesday. About one-third of those losses are due to “advance recognition” of 2016 losses, the company said.

ADVERTISEMENT
As a result, the company’s full-year earnings dipped about $238 million, even as it beat expectations in other areas of its business.

United chief financial officer Dan Schumacher said Tuesday that the company will lose more money than expected on ObamaCare exchanges this year.

The company enrolled about 500,000 people on the Affordable Care Act exchanges in 2015, a figure that is expected to grow to about 700,000 people this year — further draining profits.

United sent shockwaves through the marketplace earlier this year when it announced it is considering dropping out of the ObamaCare exchanges after 2016.

The company has already taken steps to rein in its business, including halting of advertising for new plans.

David Wichmann, chief financial officer for UnitedHealth Group, reiterated on Tuesday that the company is still determining whether to participate in the marketplace.

"By mid-2016 we will determine to what extent, if any, we will continue to offer products in the exchange market in 2017," Wichmann said during a conference call with investors.