Humana to leave key ObamaCare markets

Humana to leave key ObamaCare markets

Humana, one of the nation’s top health insurers, is pulling out of ObamaCare plans in all but a handful of states after a year of nearly $1 billion in losses.

The company plans to exit nearly half of the markets next year, it announced during an earnings report Thursday. It will take part in “no more” than 11 state marketplaces, down from 19 states this year, the company said.

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Humana’s decision to exit “substantially all” of the state exchanges comes the same day that the Obama administration announced it would step in to block a multibillion-dollar merger between Humana and Aetna. Both are among the nation's five biggest health insurers.

Another of those top five, UnitedHealth Group, announced earlier this year that it would be pulling out of most ObamaCare marketplaces, citing its own financial losses.

Humana had already shown signs of its struggle with ObamaCare, announcing this year it would pull out of at least two states.

In the earnings report released Thursday, officials underscored the sharp declines in healthcare premiums from the exchanges. The company expects to pull in between $750 million and $1 billion in premiums this year, compared to $3.4 billion projected over the last year.

Humana officials said in a statement that the changes will help the company "retain a viable product for individual consumers and address persistent risk selection challenges.”