Friday, February 12, 2010

Top Insurers Post Record Profits While Dropping 2.7M Policyholders

Democracy Now reports:

A new report says the nation’s five biggest insurance companies set an all-time record for combined profits last year. According to Health Care for America Now, the companies WellPoint, CIGNA, UnitedHealth Group, Aetna Inc. and Humana posted cumulative profits of $12.2 billion. That marks a $4.4 billion, or 56 percent, increase over 2008 and amounts to an average profit margin of 5.2 percent. CIGNA saw the highest profit jump, with an increase of 346 percent. Health Care for America Now says the insurers’ record year was aided by three factors: dropping customers with costly medical needs; diverting spending from medical care to administrative costs and margins; and a higher enrollment in public programs, like Medicare Advantage, that pay insurers higher fees. Overall, the insurance companies dropped 2.7 million customers from their rolls last year. The report’s release comes ahead of a day of nationwide rallies next Wednesday organized by Health Care for America Now.