UnitedHealthcare files to enter Maryland's ACA exchange

After severely scaling back its presence on the Affordable Care Act exchanges in 2016, UnitedHealthcare is eyeing an expansion of its offerings.

The healthcare giant and the country's largest private insurer filed to offer plans on the individual market in Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan said Tuesday. Kaiser Permanente and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield are currently offering coverage on the state's exchanges.

“UnitedHealthcare intends to offer individual plans in 2021 that provide strong coverage options for those shopping on Maryland Health Connection,” said Krista Nelson, senior vice president at UnitedHealthcare. “We look forward to working with the State of Maryland to help individuals get access to health care coverage that meets their care needs.”

RELATED: National commercial insurers are a dying breed on ACA exchanges

Big national insurers significantly rolled back their offerings on the exchanges, save for Centene Corporation, due to financial struggles.

Some, like Aetna, fully exited the markets altogether, while UnitedHealthcare, Cigna and Anthem were among those to scale back their reach substantially.

Maryland's exchange operates as a private company and was established in 2011, shortly after the passed of the ACA. Nearly 159,000 signed up for coverage on the exchange during open enrollment for 2020.

“We are very pleased United has chosen to enter Maryland’s individual market,” said Hogan in a statement. “During this public health crisis, it’s more important than ever for Marylanders to have access to a robust marketplace with different options to suit their needs.”