Health Insurers Hike Rates, While CEOs Cash-In, Profits Soar
August 11, 2010
(ChattahBox)—In case you are still wondering why we needed health care reform, the LA Times reports on the obscene cashing-in of health insurance executives and soaring company profits, as insurers also hike rates as high as 39 percent. How much cash did the CEOs for the top five health insurance companies line their pockets with? Nearly $200 million, according to a report by the 501 activist group, Health Care for America Now (HCAN).
The combined $200 million in CEO compensation of chief executives with Cigna, Humana, UnitedHealth, WellPoint and Aetna, includes salaries, bonuses and stock.
The rate hikes and increased profits complete the journey inside the stick-it-to-the-consumer business model of major health insurers:
“Aetna’s net income jumped more than 40% in the second quarter of 2010 compared with a year earlier. Indianapolis-based WellPoint recorded a 51% increase in its profit in the first quarter compared with the same period in 2009. At the same time, the companies have sought major premium hikes. In Rhode Island, UnitedHealth of Minnetonka, Minn., this spring sought increases of up to 15.5%. In Utah, some customers of Humana of Louisville, Ky., reported increases of 29%. In California, WellPoint subsidiary Anthem Blue Cross planned increases as high as 39% earlier this year. (The company later scaled them back, acknowledging errors in its rate-setting).”
WellPoint defended its rate hikes, combined with record profits and high executive compensation, pointing to better care and meeting corporate goals.
What are the industry’s corporate goals? Increase profits by shedding as many sick consumers as they can get away with, while spending less on health care, according to HCAN.