The largest health insurance company in the U.S. has said it will stop covering coverage for health insurance for its employees, effectively closing a crucial link in the health care law.
The announcement by UnitedHealth Group Inc. comes as the House of Representatives votes on a bill that would slash health insurance subsidies and repeal the requirement that people with pre-existing conditions buy coverage.
U.S.-based UnitedHealth, the nation’s second-largest health insurer, has been under pressure to step in to cover millions of people who have no insurance coverage or don’t qualify for subsidies.
The company said it would stop covering health insurance premiums for employees under age 26 and pay for all the costs for employees who have employer-sponsored coverage.
Under the House bill, UnitedHealth would stop paying for health benefits for employees in their 50s and beyond, and it would require employers with at least 50 employees to offer employees coverage through an exchange.
That would result in roughly 12 million fewer employees getting coverage.
The Republican-controlled House is expected to vote on the legislation Tuesday.
The UnitedHealth decision comes as Republican leaders are pressing to pass the bill quickly and get it to President Donald Trump’s desk.
Trump is expected Tuesday to sign the bill into law, with a final vote expected within days.