Saturday, May 14, 2011

Health insurers rake in record profits

Now that employers are raising deductibles, co-pays and otherwise passing the rising costs of health insurance to their employees, even those with employer based health insurance are deferring necessary health care. This is very good for insurers:
The nation’s major health insurers are barreling into a third year of record profits, enriched in recent months by a lingering recessionary mind-set among Americans who are postponing or forgoing medical care. [...]

Yet the companies continue to press for higher premiums, even though their reserve coffers are flush with profits and shareholders have been rewarded with new dividends.

Many defend proposed double-digit increases in the rates they charge, citing a need for protection against any sudden uptick in demand once people have more money to spend on their health, as well as the rising price of care.
An obviously bogus argument since health care costs are still rising at a pace well over the rate of overall inflation and wages aren't going up outside of the executive salaries at big corporations.

Meanwhile insurance underwriters continue to "make room for profits" by over-estimating costs. Apparently they're getting better at it all the time.

If people were only foregoing unneccessary tests this trend might be beneficial in bringing costs under control. However, it appears they're skipping important preventative treatments simply because they can't afford it, even with the employer picking up the largest share of the costs. In the long run, this will probably lead to higher costs for serious illnesses and premature deaths.

Hard to believe the "greatest country in the world" can't come up with a better way to deliver health care. [If you're locked out of NYT, article is reprinted here.]

[More posts daily at the Detroit News.]

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1 Comments:

Blogger Jerry said...

So help cut their profits. Don't buy health insurance. Use the money to purchase a prepaid funeral. I'm sure the AARP can help.

1:01:00 AM  

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