Yes, For-Profit Insurance Is The Way To Go (not)!

5 12 2009

Aetna to dump 650,000 policyholders in order to boost profits.

Health insurance giant Aetna is planning to force up to 650,000 clients to drop their coverage next year as it seeks to raise additional revenue to meet profit expectations.

In a third-quarter earnings conference call in late October, officials at Aetna announced that in an effort to improve on a less-than-anticipated profit margin in 2009, they would be raising prices on their consumers in 2010. …

“The pricing we put in place for 2009 turned out to not really be what we needed to achieve the results and margins that we had historically been delivering,” said chairman and CEO Ron Williams. “We view 2010 as a repositioning year, a year that does not fully reflect the earnings potential of our business. Our pricing actions should have a noticeable effect beginning in the first quarter of 2010, with additional financial impact realized during the remaining three quarters of the year.”

Aetna’s decision to downsize the number of clients in favor of higher premiums is, as one industry analyst told American Medical News, a “pretty candid” admission. It also reflects the major concerns offered by health care reform proponents and supporters of a public option for insurance coverage, who insist that the private health insurance industry is too consumed with the bottom line. A government-run plan would operate solely off its members’ premiums…

Funny, after the millions the heathcare insurance industry has spent lobbying against healthcare reform and the public option, Aetna makes this move, really underscoring the argument that the carriers’ profit motive is not what we want as our only option.  Heck, Aetna can’t even hold back on its profit mongering while debate on healthcare reform is ongoing.

Shrewd move guys. Memo to Ron Williams: You might want to avoid the country club for awhile, there may be some other healthcare insurer CEO’s there waiting for you with their 3-irons at the ready.

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