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UnitedHealthcare Leaves California’s Individual Market

Aired 7/3/13 on KPBS News.

One month after healthcare giant Aetna decided to pull out of California's individual market, UnitedHealthcare has followed suit.

— America's largest health insurer, UnitedHealthcare, has decided to pull out of California's individual market.

Nurse Practioner Tina Clark examines Anastacia Casperson at the Glide Health Clinic in San Francisco.

The move follows Aetna's decision in May to stop selling individual policies.

With only 8,000 individual policy holders in California, UnitedHealthcare isn't a big player in that segment of the market.

Even so, California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said its exit isn't a good result for consumers.

Nicole Evans with the California Association of Health Plans thinks consumers will be just fine.

"The reality is, next year, much of the individual market is going to be moving over to the new marketplace that's Covered California and there is going to be a lot of competition and a lot of options for consumers to choose from," Evans said.

Starting next year, insurers won't be allowed to exclude people with pre-existing conditions, and they won't be able to charge higher prices based on health status.

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