Obamacare's implementation next year is coming on fast, and health insurers across the nation are racing to prepare for health reform's arrival. With millions of previously uninsured Americans now facing a choice between purchasing health insurance or paying a fine, leading insurers could see a bounty of new customers come to their doorsteps. However, not everyone's happy about the process: Top insurance firms Unitedhealth Group (NYSE:UNH), Aetna (NYSE:AET), and Cigna (NYSE:CI) all announced on Wednesday that they will not participate in Covered California's health care exchange for the Golden State right away, according to a widely circulated report by the Los Angeles Times.
With millions in California alone expected to seek health insurance, this could be a major missed opportunity for these insurers, despite the fear of rising premiums for customers that could hurt business. However, it's a potential boon for Wellpoint (NYSE:ANTM), America's second-largest insurer and a major player in California's individual market through its Anthem Blue Cross subsidiary, that now faces less competition for new members. Wellpoint grew its membership base by 1.9 million members last year, or around 5.5%, but scoring a big portion of California's currently uninsured population could make 2014 a banner year for this firm in the Golden State alone.
Who's making the right move here? In the following video, Motley Fool contributor Dan Carroll and health care analyst Max Macaluso discuss the ramifications of this move and what investors should think of Wellpoint's opportunity.
Fool contributor Dan Carroll has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends UnitedHealth Group and WellPoint. The Motley Fool owns shares of WellPoint. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.