SALT LAKE CITY — Molina Healthcare announced Wednesday that it will no longer offer insurance plans to Utahns on the Affordable Care Act federal exchange beginning next year, citing financial losses and uncertainty over critical government funding.
The move means about 70,500 Utahns “will have to go shopping” for different health insurance for 2018, said Utah Department Insurance spokesman Steve Gooch.
The company also announced it is pulling out of the market in Wisconsin for the same reasons it is leaving Utah, and will lay off about 1,500 employees by the end of 2017.
“We are disappointed with our bottom-line results for this quarter and have taken aggressive and urgent steps to substantially improve our financial performance going forward,” Joseph White, chief financial officer and interim president and CEO of Molina Healthcare, said in a prepared statement.
There has been no indication from either SelectHealth or University of Utah Health Plans that they will withdraw from the exchange in any counties in 2018, according to the Utah Health Policy Project, a health insurance enrollment hub and think tank. Currently, SelectHealth offers plans on the exchange in every county, while University of Utah Health Plans serves 16 of the state’s 29 counties.
Both of those organizations must submit their final plans for 2018 offerings to the Utah Insurance Department by Oct. 16, at which point they would be required to stay in the market, according to Gooch.
Jason Stevenson, spokesman for the Utah Health Policy Project, said that despite Wednesday’s announcement, 95 percent of Utahns are expected to have a choice between two insurers in 2018.
Six insurers offered plans on the federal exchange in Utah when it launched in 2014. As recently as last year, four insurers continued to offer plans. Arches Health Plan stopped covering its 45,000 enrollees in 2016, while 9,000 Utahns were no longer able to use their Humana health insurance plans at the beginning of this year, with both insurers citing lack of financial feasibility in the state.
Gooch said he anticipates Molina “will still have a limited number of plans off the exchange,” though he explained that under the Affordable Care Act, consumers who buy off-exchange…