How Obamacare Could Limit Insurance Options for Americans in These 34 States

More than 500,000 consumers who purchased plans from UnitedHealthcare on Obamacare’s exchanges may be forced to change insurers and select new coverage in 2017, despite the insurance giant’s decision to expand into 34 states this year.

Last week, UnitedHealthcare, the largest insurer in the U.S., told shareholders it was considering pulling out of the state- and federally run exchanges in 2017, with a decision likely to come in early 2016, the company said.

UnitedHealthcare announced it will evaluate whether the plans it offers on the exchanges can remain viable, according to a press release from its parent company, UnitedHealth Group. However, the possibility of the insurance giant leaving Obamacare’s health insurance exchanges could have a significant impact on consumers purchasing insurance in the 34 states where UnitedHealth sells plans.

“In recent weeks, growth expectations for individual exchange participation have tempered industry wide, co-operatives have failed, and market data has signaled higher risks and more difficulties while our own claims experience has deteriorated, so we are taking this proactive step,” Stephen Hemsley, chief executive officer of UnitedHealth Group, said in a statement Friday.