Health Insurers reap record profits in 2009

We found out last week that America’s five largest health insurance organizations had profits of $12.2 billion dollars in 2009. Those insurance companies include United Health, Cigna, Aetna, Wellpoint and Humana. This was nearly a 60% increase over the previous year. The backwards thing about these profits is that they happened during the worst economic downturn since the 1930’s.

A few statistics about these companies shows exactly where the profits came from:

1. 2.7 million people lost their private health plans
2. 60% of these companies sliced the percentage of premiums they spent on their customers’ medical care.
3. The above money was shifted to corporate salaries, and profits.
4. Where else did the money go? Well….try $16.8 million was spent on lobbying Congress against any type of reform of our health care system.

We see a few problems with the above, besides the fact that these giant companies moves mirror those of the large banking institutions. We look at ourselves as being advocates for physicians. They spend a ton of their lives learning a skill that most are incapable of obtaining. We want physicians to have access to as many patients as they can…for many doctors, this is how they make a living. Especially with the high cost of medical malpractice insurance. Losing 2.7 million potential patients doesn’t seem like the right direction. Maybe Congress can actually get something right and make the changes to protect physicians in their practice, especially against “Lionel Hutz”-type trial lawyers……and get back to doing what they were trained to do: helping their patients.

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