UnitedHealth Group Inc. and other health insurers have been preparing for the health care overhaul for a few years now, but the massive law's future is clouded by next month's presidential elections.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has said he plans to repeal the overhaul if he's elected. The law is expected to add millions of new customers for insurers, but it also restricts how they provide coverage and imposes new taxes on the sector.
Whether Romney makes good on his intention depends in part on whether Republicans also can seize control of the Senate along with the White House.
CRT Capital Group analyst Sheryl Skolnick noted during a conference call Tuesday with UnitedHealth executives that the overhaul may go away or be changed drastically, and she wanted to know their reaction.
UnitedHealth CEO Stephen J. Hemsley responded.
QUESTION: "What happens to United in the event that reform doesn't happen? How are you positioned to succeed?"
ANSWER: "We don't think the underlying issue has changed. The fact of the matter is coverage needs to be better ... costs need to be addressed more effectively, the system needs to operate more efficiently. All those elements are things that basically work to our competencies and the strength of our businesses. So we will just adapt, if you will, to those kinds of changes. We will respond to ... how the market begins to evolve, and we will adapt to serve it."