By Matthew Holt
Following my cynicism about the Braly WSJ interview, not only have they been called out by the Secretary of HHS, but now they’re really in trouble. The Mommybloggers are after them…
Filed Under: Matthew Holt
It reminds me of the John Grisham novel where the big bad insurance company was deliberately denying all claimsTto enrich its execs and resulted in the death of a teenager from leukemia (if I am remembering the plot correctly).
I thought to myself, this is not a novel; it’s real life!
I can’t attribute everything to the health insurance issues, but I can say that this was the final straw. I’m selling the house to get at the equity. I can’t afford to be surprised like this anymore.
Btw, as followup, I was awarded a policy two weeks ago, backdated six months and billed immediately for all six months. I just got the final notice yesterday. TWO WEEKS into my policy.
Someone from Anthem is following on Twitter and has promised to look in to it.
The rate increases must result from an adverse-selection spiral. I’ve suggested some possible reasons, including benefits mandated recently by the legislature that were sure to make health insurance unaffordable for women: http://tinyurl.com/yjdhma7.
John Graham has a point. The high rate increases are only in the individual market, which we all know is hugely dysfunctional and has risk pool problems (those who know they are sick disproportately seek it). Until we see that WellPoint is padding its margins in this line of business, we can’t blame WellPoint for profit mongering. Other explanations are quite likely to explain some if not all of the increase.
That said, what this increase does reinforce is that WellPoint, operating in the constraints of the current system, has failed to control costs. And we all know it will continue to do so. Those who are big fans of high-deductible consumer-directed plans should take a look at what proportion of WellPoint’s business in the individual market is in this type of plan, and whether it is solving the problem. I suspect the answer is disappointing.
Jonathan Cohn has some good observations on the WellPoint matter: http://www.tnr.com/blog/the-treatment/sticker-shock
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