Comparison shopping for a health plan

By Wendell Potter

California makes it easy to do your homework.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Southern California":

"… report, Kaiser Permanente of Northern California and Kaiser Permanente of Southern California, both nonprofits, were the only plans to score four stars (an “excellent …"

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 "UnitedHealth Group":

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

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 "UnitedHealth Group":

"… na, Centene, Cigna, Health Net, Humana, Molina, Triple-S Management Corp., UnitedHealth Group, Universal American, Wellcare, and WellPoint) nine saw their stocks close …"

Health insurers have their way with regulators

By Fred Schulte

Billions in Medicare Advantage overpayments likely gone for good.

Excerpts from this story referencing "depression":

"… f extra dollars over the course of a year to treat a single patient. Take depression. Mild and temporary feelings of sadness and hopelessness don’t increase …"

"… f sadness and hopelessness don’t increase Medicare payments. But if that depression and other symptoms linger for at least two weeks it may be classified as …"

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 "tobacco giant":

"… sbians. What do they have in common? All received financial support from tobacco giant Reynolds American Inc. in 2013, according to a document released by the co …"

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 "media attention":

"… ote to tell me how outraged they were to hear that had it not been for the media attention, Cliff Faraci, called a good Samaritan for trying to save the life of a 19 …"

What's the point, WellPoint?

By Wendell Potter

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

Excerpts from this story referencing "Aetna":

"… least bit interested in making predictions. Humana declined to comment. An Aetna spokeswoman was quoted as saying only that, “It’s too early to say.” …"

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 "health insurance industry":

"… st minute to do. Lawmakers who wrote the Affordable Care Act fell for the health insurance industry’s insistence that Americans want “choice and competition.” Having wo …"

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 "Lobbying":

"… most companies haven’t embraced such additional transparency practices. Lobbying reports filed with Congress provide a bit more information on the group’ …"

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 "pharmaceutical giant":

"… rers of America, donated $325,000. Health insurer Aetna gave $300,000 and pharmaceutical giant Pfizer gave $275,650. Other top donors included hedge fund billionaire env …"

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 "UnitedHealth Group":

"… ---------------------- If you’re wondering why Aetna, Cigna, Humana and UnitedHealth Group, four of the biggest for-profits, are not planning to participate in many …"

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 "Oregon":

"… harge less than that for the exact same coverage. We’ve already seen in Oregon and other states that insurers have been resubmitting lower prices for pol …"

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 "Wall Street Journal":

"… t June upholding the constitutionality of the law. But as reported by the Wall Street Journal last week, corporate loophole hunters have invalidated Reid's statement, w …"

OPINION: Vermont law illuminates claims statistics

By Wendell Potter

Vermont law illuminates disparities among health insurers

Excerpts from this story referencing "Aetna":

"… of Managed Care showed that Cigna’s claim denial rate was 39.6 percent. Aetna’s denial rate, by contrast, was 5.9 percent.  The Vermont disclosu …"

OPINION: 'limited benefit' plans are no real bargain

By Wendell Potter

Plans with modest premiums provide no real coverage

Excerpts from this story referencing "Aetna":

"… ot enough to keep him out of bankruptcy court. …"

"… eholders and Wall Street financial analysts in New York last December. If Aetna does, in fact, hike premiums by more than 100 percent for some of its cust …"

"… t money will go to covering his shockingly lucrative paycheck. While many Aetna employees were lucky to get two percent raises last year, Bertolini’s co …"

"… Bertolini’s compensation nearly quadrupled. That’s right, quadrupled. Aetna disclosed in a filings last week with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Com …"

OPINION: taking advantage of Medicare Advantage

By Wendell Potter

Feds have been overpaying for Medicare Advantage.

Excerpts from this story referencing "George W. Bush":

"… tly what’s been going on for several years. During the administration of George W. Bush, which supported the privatization of the Medicare program, Congress passe …"

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 "Aetna":

"… John La Place said. Prominent Ernst & Young lobbying clients include Aetna, Airlines for America, Barclays, Boeing, Dow Chemical, ExxonMobil, Johnson …"

RGA, DGA reap riches from corporate donors

By Michael Beckel

RGA, DGA reap riches from corporate donors.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Aetna":

"… nnsylvania, gave $250,000 to the RGA, as did health insurance company Aetna. Meanwhile, the Florida Power and Light and Comcast each donated&nbs …"

"… ve made six-figure contributions to the DGA since late November: Aetna-subsidiary Schaller Anderson, which gave $250,000; computer technology com …"

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 "Cigna":

"… and caps on covered benefits.  Big insurance companies like Aetna and Cigna are not at all happy about that because they make millions selling policie …"

"… onger be able to refuse to cover preexisting conditions.Not to be outdone, Cigna in 2006 paid $175 million to buy Star HRG to compete with Aetna in the lim …"

"… to compete with Aetna in the limited-benefits marketplace.  Aetna and Cigna and the other companies that sell limited benefit plans want to protect th …"

'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 "AARP":

"… ut, states must make up the difference, often by cutting education budgets.AARP is also defending Social Security and Medicare in a big way — a seven-fi …"

"… Congress has the potential to impact the lives of older Americans,” said AARP spokesman Joshua Rosenblum. An AARP survey of 50-years-and-older Amer …"

"… the lives of older Americans,” said AARP spokesman Joshua Rosenblum. An AARP survey of 50-years-and-older Americans conducted just after the …"

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 "Congressional Leadership Fund":

"… ion to a super PAC close to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, called the Congressional Leadership Fund, which has aired a bevy of ads attacking Democratic House candidates.Oxbow …"

"… ary campaign; Hamburger chain White Castle, which gave $25,000 to the Congressional Leadership Fund; Defense contractor B/E Aerospace, which gave $50,000 to Restore Our …"

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 "lobbyist":

"… r legal counsel, a lawyer named Anthony Ferate. Ferate is also an in-house lobbyist for natural gas company Devon Energy.He denied there was anything improper …"

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 "insurance":

"… be even more jaw dropping than they already are.  …"

"… . If you enroll in one of their plans, the government sends a check to the insurance company you choose for your coverage. The amount varies depending on where …"

"… tes for a single payer system, the federal government has overpaid private insurance companies under the Medicare Advantage program and its predecessors more t …"

"… plan have received almost twice as much in campaign contributions from the insurance industry this election cycle as members who voted against it ($14 million …"

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