Comparison shopping for a health plan

By Wendell Potter

California makes it easy to do your homework.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Medicare":

"… om a private insurer unless we’re eligible for a government program like Medicare or Medicaid — you’d think it would be easy to discover which health pl …"

Health insurers turning into who knows what?

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: health insurers are transforming themselves — but into what?

Excerpts from this story referencing "United States":

"… roup’s website, it is “the most diversified health care company in the United States and a leader worldwide in helping people live healthier lives…” WellP …"

"… ida. We’re here to be the best health solutions company in the United States.” What all of those companies’ executives understand is that if profi …"

Taking insurance companies out of health care

By Wendell Potter

If Boeing experiment flies, health care system could be transformed.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Health":

"… lth system,” Dr. Elliott Fisher, director of the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, was quoted as telling The Seattle Times. “ …"

"… Health insurers are quickly diversifying. Just two weeks ago, Modern Healthcare noted that because Health insurers are now required to spend at l …"

"… expect to realize higher returns. The magazine cited as an example UnitedHealth Group’s Optum division, which works in technology and population Health …"

"… th in operating earnings. Meanwhile, in its core insurance business, UnitedHealth saw its 2013 operating margin decline to 6.4 percent, down from 7.6 percen …"

Skyrocketing salaries for health insurance CEOs

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: soaring compensation, rising stock prices don't justify higher premiums.

Excerpts from this story referencing "health":

"… even though by law we now have to buy coverage from those companies. …"

"… this year and soaring CEO compensation. Almost all of the publicly traded health insurers reported big increases in revenue and profits last year. The big …"

"… mpanies, led by Mark Bertolini, CEO of Aetna, the nation’s third largest health insurer. Bertolini’s total compensation of $30.7 million in 2013 was 131 …"

"… learning for the first time right now just how much the CEOs  of big health insurance companies make. Unless you subscribe to health Plan Week, i …"

Health insurers have their way with regulators

By Fred Schulte

Billions in Medicare Advantage overpayments likely gone for good.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Medicare":

"… ouch it you get nailed.” …"

"… indings signaled that billing errors could be deeply rooted within private Medicare Advantage plans — which contract with the federal government to care for …"

"… that these abuses could be wasting taxpayer dollars at a ferocious clip. Medicare expects to pay higher rates for legitimately sicker people who may require …"

"… rote.  In Arizona, a health plan collected thousands of dollars from Medicare to treat congestive heart failure in a patient seen for knee pain, accordi …"

Tobacco money fuels gay Republicans, business organizations

By Michael Beckel

Reynolds American gave thousands of dollars to politically active nonprofits such as the Log Cabin Republicans, Americans for Prosperity.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Michael Bloomberg":

"… on that lobbied against tobacco regulations proposed in 2013 by then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City. Other notable Reynolds American payments included $60,0 …"

Keeping an eye on insurance companies that refuse to pay claims

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: Arizona case resolved after victim became a 'squeaky wheel'

Excerpts from this story referencing "Aetna":

"… hird-degree burns. Two days after he was discharged, he got a letter from Aetna telling him that the company didn’t believe his injuries were “suffici …"

"… be there for him if he ever had an emergency. Faraci filed an appeal, but Aetna executives wouldn’t budge. They said in their denial letter that Faraci …"

"… etter that Faraci’s coverage extended only to services and supplies that Aetna — not his doctors or hospital staff — deems medically necessary. Fara …"

"… king Channel 12 to intervene paid off. The independent examiner ruled that Aetna should pay half of Faraci’s hospitalization. Soon after that, Aetna told …"

What's the point, WellPoint?

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: insurer's talk of rate increases may boomerang.

Excerpts from this story referencing "insurance":

"… its later this year, that initiative just might pass. …"

"… hat, there will “undoubtedly be remarkable price increases” for health insurance sold through the Obamacare-created exchanges, I remembered the outrage his …"

"… are Act, which contained numerous consumer protections and regulations the insurance industry hated. Just before news of WellPoint’s proposed rate increase …"

"… proposal "reminds us that too many Americans can be left with unaffordable insurance each time the rates or rules change in the private market.” The propose …"

Dizzying array of options in Obamacare can lead to expensive mistakes

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: Health insurers offer a wide range of plans on exchanges, customers should pay attention to the details.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Aetna":

"… his year at $6,350. And her Kaiser plan is still saving her money over the Aetna plan she had last year. Donna is just as much an advocate for a single-pa …"

Retailers band together to fight health reform law

By Erin Quinn

Companies, trade groups band together to lobby on issues of common interest.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Aetna":

"… among those named in E-Flex’s reports to Congress, as are health insurer Aetna, the Food Marketing Institute and the National Restaurant Association. …"

GOP governors group dwarfs Democrats in fundraising

By Ben Wieder and John Dunbar

This year features 36 governors' races; Republicans enter with a big fundraising advantage over Democrats.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Aetna":

"… esearchers and Manufacturers of America, donated $325,000. Health insurer Aetna gave $300,000 and pharmaceutical giant Pfizer gave $275,650. Other top don …"

Fighting over Aetna's disclosure

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: good government group alleges insurer isn't coming clean on political spending.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Aetna":

"… ting to see if Aetna can convince the court of that.  …"

"… ovide the information state insurance departments would need before giving Aetna the approval to reinstate the cancelled policies. “If we were to go to …"

"… s. In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court in New York on behalf of an Aetna shareholder, CREW accuses the company of violating the Securities Exchange …"

"… false and misleading proxy statements to shareholders. CREW alleges that Aetna tried to hide nearly $8 million in contributions to the American Action Ne …"

Beginning of the end for major health insurers

By Wendell Potter

Kickoff of new law will expose irrelevance of big insurers.

Excerpts from this story referencing "insurance":

"… business, like data management.  …"

"… ober 1, 2014, that law will signify the beginning of the end of the health insurance industry as we know it. As I’ve noted previously, my former CEO at Cign …"

"… ership retreat that what kept him up at night was the fear that big health insurance corporations might someday be viewed as unnecessary middlemen, that their …"

"… lue proposition” would come under scrutiny and found to be wanting. That insurance companies would, to use his term, be disintermediated. That day has arriv …"

Unions chafing at Obamacare provisions

By Wendell Potter

Labor leaders say big business was mollified at their expense.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Aetna":

"… y months of the Obama administration were corporate executives like former Aetna CEO Ron Williams and the chief lobbyists of the American Hospital Associat …"

The fiction of Obamacare 'rate shock'

By Wendell Potter

Scare tactics aside, Obamacare rates will be lower for many.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Aetna":

"… l the rage several months ago, like this one from Forbes last December: “Aetna CEO (Mark) Bertolini: Get ready for ‘Rate Shock’ as Some Insurance Pre …"

"… icies on the marketplaces, not what they actually would be able to charge. Aetna, for example, might have liked to be able to charge $500 a month for a cer …"

OPINION: a brave new world for health insurance

By Wendell Potter

ObamaCare's exchanges are attracting innovators, not old-line companies.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Cigna":

"… nce marketplaces, which will go online October 1, as opportunities. Aetna, Cigna and UnitedHealthcare have all said they will be participating in only a fe …"

"… eve me? Well just look at history. The big five “insurers” — Aetna, Cigna, Humana, UnitedHealth and WellPoint — have all changed radically in the …"

"… umana in 1989, it was known primarily as a hospital company. When I joined Cigna in 1993, it was a big multi-line insurance corporation, as was Aetna. Both …"

OPINION: insurance tricks to avoid ObamaCare's consumer protections

By Wendell Potter

Firms pushing early renewals to avoid ObamaCare protections

Excerpts from this story referencing "Aetna":

"… rance companies.    I first heard about this several weeks ago. Aetna had been encouraging some of its small business customers —whose policie …"

"… instead of January. By taking advantage of this one-time-only offer, those Aetna customers will be able to delay complying with the law—and providing new …"

"… it. I’ve heard from consumer advocates that many insurers are following Aetna’s lead. They’re sending letters to customers—at least to the ones wi …"

OPINION: putting big health insurers in their place

By Wendell Potter

New exchanges are better off without the big insurers.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Cigna":

"… se, like other big national insurers — most notably UnitedHealthcare and Cigna — it prefers to sell coverage to employers, not individuals. So Aetna’ …"

"… rrangement, the employer pays a substantial fee to a company like Aetna or Cigna to negotiate contracts with doctors and hospitals and make decisions about …"

"… y is Aetna passing on the California exchange, so are UnitedHealthcare and Cigna. And it’s not just California. These big firms have decided to participa …"

Lobbying firm PACs start 2013 slow

By Dave Levinthal

Few raising or spending big money early in 2013 — if at all.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Raytheon":

"… azeera America, Comcast, drugmaker Merck, the PGA Tour, defense contractor Raytheon and ZTE USA, the American subsidiary of a Chinese telecom company that has …"

OPINION: a cynical search for loopholes

By Wendell Potter

Insurers find ways to avoid 'essential benefits'.

Excerpts from this story referencing "insurance policies":

"… ars they've hit pay dirt. The provision of the law mandating that all new insurance policies must cover certain "essential" benefits will take effect January 1, 2014.& …"

OPINION: Vermont law illuminates claims statistics

By Wendell Potter

Vermont law illuminates disparities among health insurers

Excerpts from this story referencing "Cigna":

"… health insurers — Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont, MVP Health Care and Cigna, the company I used to work for. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont is by …"

"… e based in the Green Mountain State. MVP is headquartered in New York, and Cigna, the for-profit company among the three, is based in Connecticut.  W …"

"… t company, as I did, you would be right. But even I was shocked to see how Cigna compared with its competitors, especially Blue Cross. Of all the claims s …"

"… by health care providers and policyholders, Blue Cross denied 7.6 percent. Cigna denied 21 percent. MVP was in the middle at 15.5 percent. Since Vermont i …"

OPINION: 'limited benefit' plans are no real bargain

By Wendell Potter

Plans with modest premiums provide no real coverage

Excerpts from this story referencing "Cigna":

"… s that have made millions of dollars in profits from such plans, including Cigna, where I used to work, will no longer be able to sell them, thanks to the …"

OPINION: taking advantage of Medicare Advantage

By Wendell Potter

Feds have been overpaying for Medicare Advantage.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Cigna":

"… ecrease on their MA business. I can attest that that could indeed happen. Cigna, one of the companies I used to work for, used to operate private Medicare …"

Lobbyist PACs hurting for cash following election

By Dave Levinthal

Political cash machines of many top government affairs shops see a slow start to 2014 election cycle.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Raytheon":

"… strong Foundation, National Association of Broadcasters, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Visa and Wal-Mart, according to filings with the U.S. Senate. Meanw …"

RGA, DGA reap riches from corporate donors

By Michael Beckel

RGA, DGA reap riches from corporate donors.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Democratic Governors Association":

"… Republican Governors Association pulled in nearly $2.7 million, while the Democratic Governors Association collected $910,000, documents filed Thursday with the Internal Revenue Ser …"

OPINION: insurance scare tactics

By Wendell Potter

Insurers are warning of 'premium shock' in hopes of removing protections from ObamaCare

Excerpts from this story referencing "insurance":

"… you can keep your health care plan.”He should have known better. First, insurance companies and employers are far more in control of determining whether or …"

"… premiums for inadequate coverage are usually lower than premiums for real insurance. You can be certain that many of those folks will complain loudly when jun …"

"… be certain that many of those folks will complain loudly when junk health insurance is banned in 2014 and, in so doing, become unwitting soldiers in the insur …"

"… rance is banned in 2014 and, in so doing, become unwitting soldiers in the insurance industry’s ongoing battle to gut the consumer protections in ObamaCare.B …"

'Fiscal cliff' ads target candidates in 2014

By Rachael Marcus

Rove-affiliated nonprofit runs 'fiscal cliff' ads targeting vulnerable Senate Democrats.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Tom Harkin":

"… her five are West Virginia (Jay Rockefeller); Arkansas (Mark Pryor); Iowa (Tom Harkin); Minnesota (Al Franken) and Montana (Max Baucus).LaborWhile Crossroads&nb …"

Mystery firm is election's top corporate donor at $5.3 million

By Michael Beckel and Reity O'Brien

Supreme Court decision paves way for $75 million in corporate donations to super PACs.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Dick Armey":

"… rks for America, which is affiliated with former GOP House Majority Leader Dick Armey.FreedomWorks’ super PAC has spent more than $19 million on political adv …"

Nonprofits, shell corporations help shield identity of ad backers

By Russ Choma

Underwriters of attack ads can easily avoid being named.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Aetna":

"… s to the political organizations from unidentified donors in this election.Aetna’s oopsOccasionally, the veil is lifted on the secrecy of these groups, s …"

"… ed on the secrecy of these groups, sometimes inadvertently.Insurance giant Aetna accidentally disclosed to insurance regulators earlier this year that in 2 …"

OPINION: Who wins with Medicare Advantage?

By Wendell Potter

Medicare Advantage plans are profit centers for private insurance companies because of government incentives to participate.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Citigroup":

"… utional investors that own the majority of health insurance company stock. Citigroup analyst Carl McDonald predicts that should Romney win and the GOP take the …"

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