Beyond UnitedHealthcare: How Are Other Publicly Traded Insurers Faring on the Marketplaces?

By Kevin Lucia, Justin Giovannelli, Emily Curran and Sabrina Corlette

Following full implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) two-and-a-half years ago, nearly 12.7 million Americans have signed up for a health plan through the insurance marketplaces. Nevertheless, much ink has been spilled—and understandably so—over whether the law’s new marketplaces are stable and sustainable. In the media, at least, these discussions have intensified following news that UnitedHealthcare (United) has decided not to participate next year in most of the marketplaces in which it currently sells plans.

United is the nation’s largest insurer; however, it has not played a major role in driving competition in many of the marketplaces and its share of enrollment has been modest. To gain a wider perspective on marketplace stability, we reviewed the first-quarter earnings calls and regulatory filings of some of the largest, publicly traded insurers that participate in the marketplaces, including Aetna, Anthem, Centene, Cigna, Humana, Molina, and United. These communications shed light not just on a company’s financial performance, but also on major business developments and strategic thinking, making them useful resources for understanding a company’s experiences in and perspective on its market.

To find out what insurers are telling their investors about the ACA and their marketplace participation, check out our latest publication for To The Point, the Commonwealth Fund’s new site for quick takes on health care policy and practice. In the article we dig into which insurers are in and which are out, their enrollment projections, assessment of the risk pool, and future challenges and opportunities. You can access it here.

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