MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — UnitedHealth CEO Stephen Hemsley says the nation’s biggest health insurer made a bad decision when it dove deeper into the Affordable Care Act’s public insurance exchanges this year.

Hemsley says the insurer should have waited and learned more about the still-new business before jumping into two dozen state-based exchanges for 2015. That move ultimately generated losses steep enough to force the company to chop its earnings forecast. UnitedHealth Group Inc. sold coverage on just four exchanges in 2014.

The Minnetonka, Minnesota, company will decide next year whether to sell coverage for 2017 on the exchanges, a key element in the ACA’s push to cover millions of uninsured people.

But Hemsley also told investors Tuesday that any decision to pull back from that market will not be permanent.

(© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 

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