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Paying Through Your Bloody Nose

© Gary Varvel

The health insurance industry is blaming rising premiums on the increased cost of health care, but for the majority of large health insurers the percentage actually spent on health care went down, while the percentage spent on administrative expenses and profits went up.

The five largest U.S. health insurance companies sailed through the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression to set new industry profit records in 2009, a feat accomplished by leaving behind 2.7 million Americans who had been in private health plans. For customers who kept their benefits, the insurers raised rates and cost-sharing, and cut the share of premiums spent on medical care. Executives and shareholders of the five biggest for-profit health insurers, UnitedHealthGroup Inc., WellPoint Inc., Aetna Inc., Humana Inc., and Cigna Corp., enjoyed combined profit of $12.2 billion in 2009, up 56 percent from the previous year. It was the best year ever for Big Insurance.

I wonder how much lobbying to defeat health care reform cost them us.



  1. Hassan wrote:

    Health-care is an issue, I want either extreme liberals to succeed or either extreme right or libertarians to succeed. Because I hate middle man making profit for no reason.

    Friday, February 12, 2010 at 8:38 am | Permalink
  2. ebdoug wrote:

    I know exactly what it cost the individual insurance policy owners to lobby against health care reform=an extra $100 a month per person. In group plans with the Chamber of Commerce, the policy cost per person went up exactly $100 per month per person. Remember group plans are cheaper? I happen to support Health Care reform and was furious about the $100 raise in the last two months before Medicare kicked in for me. How many months would WellPoint be in business if all those who can’t afford the 39% increase would have a government option by their income? And people are complaining about cost of food in the grocery store. Yes, the stores help their employees with health insurance so when the store premiums go up so does the cost of food. Republicans don’t just want to kill Medicare, they want to kill all of us. And then who would mow their lawns, wash their windows and clean their houses?

    Friday, February 12, 2010 at 12:13 pm | Permalink
  3. Blizzard wrote:

    “Republicans don’t just want to kill Medicare, they want to kill all of us.”
    I think that might be going a bit too far, and falling into the hyperbole that Republicans tend to be smashed for.

    Saturday, February 13, 2010 at 2:41 pm | Permalink
  4. Iron Knee wrote:

    Agreed. Let’s keep things constructive in here, please.

    Sunday, February 14, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Permalink