- UnitedHealthcare plans to offer individual and family health plans in 22 state marketplaces in 2023, newly entering Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio, the healthcare giant announced Thursday.
- The payer has been steadily ratcheting up its presence on the Affordable Care Act exchanges after dramatically reducing its ACA markets in 2017 over waning growth expectations.
- In 2022, the payer has offered plans on ACA exchanges in 18 states, up from 11 states in 2021.
Open enrollment for plans on ACA marketplaces begins Nov. 1. UnitedHealthcare will be selling plans in Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
Despite the expansion, the Minnetonka, Minnesota-based payer has not returned to its largest previous presence on the exchanges — UnitedHealthcare was in 34 states in 2016 before scaling back its presence as it struggled to turn a profit. Aetna and Humana also excited the exchanges in 2018.
Major payers have been ramping up their ACA offerings as enrollment in the exchanges swells, driven by financial incentives including generous subsidies, COVID-19 special enrollment periods and economic uncertainty which has been destabilizing job-based coverage. A record 14.5 million Americans signed up for ACA plans for 2022, the highest volume since the law was signed 12 years ago.
CVS is expanding its ACA footprint to four new states in 2023, a year after its payer business Aetna said it would return to the exchanges after exiting them in 2017. Cigna is also expanding to three new states.
UnitedHealthcare shared it would be entering four new states along with its third quarter results, but didn’t specify which states it would enter publicly. Analysts commented at the time that UnitedHealthcare’s commercial business appears to have stabilized following a period of decline, due to its growth plans and steady membership.
UnitedHealthcare CEO Brian Thompson said on the third quarter earnings call with investors in October that the payer’s footprint expansion for 2023 will increase its reach from about 40% of the addressable market to nearly two-thirds by the start of next year.
“We see the exchanges is really emerging as a meaningful place and a broader coverage criteria across this country. And it’s certainly important to us to be more relevant each and every year,” Thompson said.