Friday, February 12, 2010

Private Health Insurance.....the assholes

Wellpoint, the giant health insurance conglomerate in California, announced recently that they will be raising premiums 39% for some customers this year. This news comes after reports of a $2.7 billion profit margin in the last quarter of 2009. Wellpoint spokesman Brian Sassi attributes the rise in costs to healthier, younger patients dropping their coverage plans because of the poor economy, leaving too many sick patients on the Wellpoint dole.

But it's the evil Gub'mint that wants to implement death panels right?


Andrew_M_Garland said...

Top insurers reap billions as health costs soar

Wellpoint's profit margin was 7.3%. 40% of that was from selling a division, making its operating margin 4.38%. So, it could charge 4.38% less in premiums and make no profit. But, it would also be out of business.

If younger, healthier people are dropping their insurance, then of course premiums would have to go up on the older insureds.

There is a lot of cost-shifting imposed on health insurance. States want younger adults to subsidize older ones by applying higher rates to the young, higher than the cost of insuring them. How do we know this? Because Wellpoint had to raise rates. If the young were paying a true insurance rate, then losing them would not pose drastic problems for Wellpoint.

The government is the only agency that can enforce a monopoly on health insurance and health delivery. If Wellpoint is offering a bad deal, insureds could go to other companies. Well, they could, if the state insurance laws promoted competition rather than politically administered monopoly.

Are you concerned about a government monopoly telling you to lower your rates for surgery, in "fairness" to your sickest patients? What will you do when the government claims that it is the outrageous income of doctors that is preventing the fair distribution of medical care?

Anonymous said...

Well, they just ended chance of anyone deciding to go out on their own and start a new business in Cali. There will be no "choice" all insurers will follow.


Debra said...

And why would they NOT jack up the rates, there is nothing to stop them now.

No, wait a minute, health care "reform" is right around the corner right?

Should have went with Hillary. Just sayin. Somehow I don't think she would have been scared to ram the legislation through.

I speak as a woman of course.

"Yes we can". Well, no we didn't.

What a mess.

Kellie said...

Mr. Garland,

The government already tells me and many other surgeons/physicians what to expect to be paid for surgeries/procedures/office visits. Medicare and Medicaid. Where they go, so do the private insurers.

Bianca Castafiore? said...

hi buckeye surgeon! i don't comment much anymore on any of the medical blogs, in large part because i am sinking into a très large depression. i was priced out of my health insurance in october, when -- in the course of ONE YEAR -- my premiums were raised 41% from an already almost untenable rate. at $1513/month, plus a $5000 deductible, BCBS was receiving all my disability income (through a private insurer contracted by my school system), with the exception of $600 -- for THE YEAR.

it would be ridiculous of me to assume that bcbs did this on purpose.

it had nothing to do with the six major orthopedic surgeries last year.

and i certainly do expect to find other coverage, especially since i was already in the high risk pool for my state -- because our system is geared toward helping people, and is fairly run.

this whole debacle, this failure to enact meaningful reform in line with reality? it is going to be the death of me and every day i speak less and less.

i stopped one medication last week.

i stopped another today.

sí, se puede? not me... not anymore.

Anonymous said...

"But it's the evil Gub'mint that wants to implement death panels right?"

Call it what you like crony capitalism, corporatism, or liberal fascism. It's definetly not capitalism when you get corporate welfare incentives from government and bailouts. With pure capitalism you have competition and prices will naturally fall.
Benito Mussolini defined fascism as the merger of the state and the corporation. In Italy they had a jackboot military fascist dictatorship. We have in the US today what is called liberal fascism or fascism with a smile as Jonah Goldberg defines it in his book Liberal Fascism. People will eventually realize that things always get more expensive and less efficient when government is involved.

Jeffrey Parks MD FACS said...

Liberal fascism? That book has been thoroughly discredited by more critics (left and right) than anyone can keep count. Goldberg's ploy is to just re-define terms as he sees fit to square with his conjectures. Words have meanings, bro. You're stuck using them in their intended sense. That's the way the English language works...

Anonymous said...

I understand words can have multiple meanings depending on what your intended sense of the word is. Like Bill Clinton said "it depends on what your definition of is is". That was of course in reference to the Lewinski scandal. I understand semantics and the meanings of words. A text without a context is a pretext for a proof text.
The point is Goldberg's book gives an historical perspective that highlights todays liberals align themselves with beliefs that would be considered fascist. These historically fascist beliefs are normally associated with the conservative right but in reality it's the liberal left which holds these beliefs today. Hence the name of the book Liberal Fascism.
It's always good to discern between critics and commentators when watching Fox News, CNN, and NBC.