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Monday, May 27, 2013

Major Health Insurers Opt Out of CA's State-Run Market

By Melanie Batley

Millions of Californians could face higher health insurance premiums next year after some of the nation's most prominent health insurers refused to sign up for California's new state-run health insurance exchange.

The move could signal a rocky road ahead for the national rollout of expanded health coverage under Obamacare.

According to The Los Angeles Times, UnitedHealth, the nation's largest private insurer, Aetna, and Cigna all are opting out of Covered California, the state insurance exchange, which announced Thursday morning the winning bidders and their proposed rates and plans for as many as 5 million people shopping for coverage next year.

The goal of the exchange is to offer individuals and small businesses a choice of private health plans similar to those that workers at large companies already receive. But with fewer insurers participating, some argue that individuals will face significantly higher premiums and fewer choices.

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President Obama is delivering a major speech today designed to fulfill a promise in his State of the Union address in January to make elements of his controversial counter-terrorism policies more transparent and accountable to Congress and the American public. Obama is also under pressure to explain how he intends to make even modest progress on other priorities that were centerpieces of foreign policy plans he made at the beginning of his first term. At the top of that list is closing the Guantanamo Bay prison, where 103 of the 166 detainees still in custody are on a hunger strike.

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