In Clover

New HCAN study:

The five largest U.S. health insurance companies sailed through the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression to set new industry profit records in 2009, a feat accomplished by leaving behind 2.7 million americans who had been in private health plans. For customers who kept their benefits, the insurers raised rates and cost-sharing,and cut the share of premiums spent on medical care. Executives and shareholders of the five biggest for-profit health insurers, UnitedHealthGroup inc., WellPoint inc., Aetna Inc., Humana Inc., and Cigna Corp., enjoyed combined profit of $12.2 billion in 2009, up 56 percent from the previous year. It was the best year ever for Big Insurance.

The 2009 financial reports from the nation’s five largest insurance companies reveal that:

* The firms made $12.2 billion, an increase of $4.4 billion, or 56 percent, from 2008.
o Four out of the five companies saw earnings increases, with CIGNA’s profits jumping 346 percent.
* The companies provided private insurance coverage to 2.7 million fewer people than the year before.
o Four out of the five companies insured fewer people through private coverage. UnitedHealth alone insured 1.7 million fewer people through employer-based or individual coverage.
o All but one of the five companies increased the number of people they covered through public insurance programs (Medicaid, CHIP and Medicare). UnitedHealth added 680,000 people in public plans.
* The proportion of premium dollars spent on health care expenses went down for three of the five firms, with higher proportions going to administrative expenses and profits.

5 thoughts on “In Clover

  1. Yeah, too bad the poseurs at HCAN supported legislation that baked insurers into the system, and prevented any real solution, which would be to break them up and regulate them like public utilities (Germany, on the right), abolish them in favor of single payer (Canada, the centrists), or socialize medicine (UK, on the left). All of these countries deliver better health outcomes at less than half our per capita cost, showing that the real problem is health care for profit. Study me no studies from HCAN’t!

  2. And that didn’t keep Independence Blue Cross from jacking up my rates by 39% beginning March 1.

  3. Wow, Cabin Girl — Your post makes clear the Blues are raising health insurance premiums by outlandish percentages from sea to shining sea! So far, only CA and Wellpoint have been sent the “sternly worded letter.” That I know of.

    I expect to see the same increases

    here in NJ. And then will be going naked into this cruel health care world. (Thanks a lot, Obama and Blue Bunny Dems*. )

    But only 352 days until I’m Medicare eligible! Ain’t it a bitch when we look forward to getting older just bcz we can get on Medicare.

    Of course, there’s still the worry that Obama may reach out to the Repubs and ruin Medicare….

    *Blue Bunny Dems — Dems who run scared whenever criticized by the Repubs or MCM (Mainstream Corporate Media); together with Corporate Dems and Blue Dogs, who may also be Blue Bunny Dems, they are destroying the Democratic Party’s brand image. Along with Obama.

  4. Wellpoint’s consolidation of the Blues — ain’t nowhere they can’t raise rates! (From Commenter Helen Northmore from New York at the Brian Lehrer Show’s site for today’s first segment on increases in health insurance):

    Your caller reported an increase in rates by Blue Cross in this area. Below is the Wellpoint/Anthem/Blue Cross connection here in the NYC area as well as an illustration consolidation among the big health insurers.

    Wellpoint reports it covers one in nine in America. The big five health insurers, Wellpoint, United HealthGroup, Aetna, Cigna, and Humana currenlty cover one-third of all insured, therefore less competition.

    WELLPOINT is Unicare throughout the country. Wellpoint is Tonik Health. Health Networks Inc. became a part of Anthem, Inc. on November 30, 2004, and Anthem, Inc. changed its name to WellPoint, Inc. Subsequently, on December 28, 2005, WellChoice, Inc. became a part of WellPoint, Inc. Anthem Health Plans: California Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Colorado Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Connecticut Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Georgia Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Indiana Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Kentucky Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Maine Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Missouri Blue Cross and Blue Shield (excluding 30 counties in the Kansas City Area), Nevada Blue Cross and Blue Cross Blue Shield, New Hampshire Blue Cross and Blue Cross Blue Shield, New York (as Blue Cross/Blue Shield licensee in 10 NYC and surrounding counties and as the Blue Cross or the Blue Shield licensee in selected upstate counties only, Ohio Blue Cross and Ohio Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Virginia Blue Cross and Virginia Blue Cross/Blue Shield (excluding the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C), Wisconsin Blue Cross and Wisconsin Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

    An ex-exec from Wellpoint is reported to have helped write the Senate Health Bil, so perhaps there is a sense of betrayal in Washington?

    (Hope the tags work — been a long time since I could read much of the blogs; Dead PC, time limit at local library)

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