Health insurers watch profits soar as they dump small business customers

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: profits soar while they dump small business customers.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Aetna":

"… March 2010. Anthem’s is up 238 percent over the same time period.  Aetna’s 290 percent. Cigna’s 305 percent. And Humana’s 309 percent. Meanwh …"

"… Unfortunately, Obamacare does little if anything to stop purging.   Aetna at one point was especially aggressive in dumping unprofitable accounts. T …"

"…  reported in 2004 that as part of an effort to boost the bottom line, Aetna spent more than $20 million to install new technology that enabled it to …"

Health insurers win midterm election!

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: midterm results create a friendlier Congress.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Aetna":

"… highest points in a year last Wednesday. Some even reached historic highs. Aetna was the only one that fell short of reaching a 52-week high, but only by p …"

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 "Aetna":

"… t was enacted. We tend to think that insurers with well-known brands like Aetna, Blue Cross, Cigna and UnitedHealthcare have been around forever and likel …"

"… ne of the world’s largest multi-line insurance companies. Its peers were Aetna — which initially was just a life insurer — MetLife, Prudential and Tr …"

"… MetLife, Prudential and Travelers all sold their health care business and Aetna and Cigna decided to get out of the property and casualty business to focu …"

"… Humana says its primary focus “is on the well-being of its members.” Aetna says it is “transforming health care to create healthier communities, a …"

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 "Insurance":

"… nt flies.  Wendell Potter is the author of Deadly Spin: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR is Killing Health Care and …"

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 "Aetna":

"… been the top executives of those companies, led by Mark Bertolini, CEO of Aetna, the nation’s third largest health insurer. Bertolini’s total compensa …"

"… ealthier today than they were this time last year. Of those 11 companies (Aetna, Centene, Cigna, Health Net, Humana, Molina, Triple-S Management Corp., Un …"

"… increases have been equally impressive at most of the other big companies. Aetna’s share price is up 31 percent, Cigna’s 32 percent. United’s is up 2 …"

Health insurers have their way with regulators

By Fred Schulte

Billions in Medicare Advantage overpayments likely gone for good.

Excerpts from this story referencing "prosecutor":

"… s as part of a budget cut. Robert Trusiak, a former Department of Justice prosecutor, said that “at the very least” federal officials should have demanded …"

"… for the return of overdue books.   Trusiak, the former federal prosecutor, said CMS officials yielded too much ground to the industry and that these …"

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 "Center for Public Integrity":

"… 2013, according to a document released by the company and reviewed by the Center for Public Integrity. The North Carolina-based company donated $4,000 to the Koch-supported Am …"

"… ed financial support from companies such as Aetna and CVS Caremark, as the Center for Public Integrity has previously reported. During 2012, Reynolds American donated $50,000 t …"

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 "WellPoint":

"… ear, that initiative just might pass. …"

"… olitically tone deaf and profit-obsessed they apparently are. When I read WellPoint CEO Joe Swedish comments in Modern Healthcare that, there will “undoubte …"

"… ections and regulations the insurance industry hated. Just before news of WellPoint’s proposed rate increase reached Capitol Hill in February 2010, reform a …"

"… red the legislation would indeed fall short of the needed votes. But when WellPoint’s rate increase plans made headlines, Democrats seized on it, especially …"

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 "Jack Abramoff":

"… est group. Before Congress passed reforms in 2007 in the wake of the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, these informal lobbying groups, formerly known as “ste …"

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 "insurance":

"… ng for that sooner rather than later. …"

"… en unionized workers the same consideration they gave business leaders and insurance company executives when the Affordable Care Act was being drafted. As ful …"

"… ore time addressing the concerns of the business community, especially the insurance and pharmaceutical industries, than their friends and reliable allies in t …"

"… ear were lobbyists for doctors and hospitals, drug makers and, of course, insurance companies. Perhaps that shouldn’t have surprised us, given the politica …"

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 "Aetna":

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

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

"… oined Cigna in 1993, it was a big multi-line insurance corporation, as was Aetna. Both had big property and casualty and financial services divisions. Unde …"

"… rers at the time were Prudential, which sold its health care operations to Aetna in 1999, and Travelers and MetLife, whose health care businesses are now p …"

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 "Aetna":

"… And we won’t miss those companies that refuse to take part. Believe me. …"

"… urer by the end of the year. State Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said Aetna’s decision was disappointing because it will reduce competition, but Aet …"

"… tna’s decision was disappointing because it will reduce competition, but Aetna — the third largest insurer nationally — has never been able to muster …"

"… rol about 90 percent of the Golden State’s individual insurance market. Aetna didn’t make a big effort to increase its share of that market because, l …"

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 "Aetna":

"… ens of lobbying clients this year include corporate titans such as insurer Aetna, Barclays, Boeing, Citigroup, ExxonMobil, General Electric, insurer MetLif …"

OPINION: a cynical search for loopholes

By Wendell Potter

Insurers find ways to avoid 'essential benefits'.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Aetna":

"… dequate coverage quite profitable. Some of the biggest insurers, including Aetna, Cigna and UnitedHealthgroup, bought companies several years ago that spec …"

OPINION: Vermont law illuminates claims statistics

By Wendell Potter

Vermont law illuminates disparities among health insurers

Excerpts from this story referencing "Blue Cross Blue Shield Association":

"… ashington. Blue Cross of Vermont spent nothing, although the Chicago-based Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, which represents all of the country’s Blues plans, spends a lot on lobb …"

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 "Medicaid":

"… ut in payments to Medicare Advantage plans by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that are scheduled to go into effect on April 1. The indus …"

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 "Aetna":

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

"… ium shock.At a meeting with Wall Street financial analysts a few days ago, Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini used that term in his warning that in some cases, premi …"

"… the government to help them buy decent coverage.Some background: In 2005, Aetna paid $250 million for Strategic Resources Co., a company that specializes …"

"… Co., a company that specializes in limited benefit plans. I found one such Aetna plan online that pays no more than $10,000 a year for inpatient hospital c …"

'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 "Aetna":

"… ebsite, CEOs from Caesars Entertainment Corp., Motorola Solutions Inc. and Aetna, among others, argue for “responsible spending,” “fixing the debt si …"

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 "FreedomWorks":

"… noxville, Tenn., donated nearly $5.3 million between Oct. 1 and Oct. 11 to FreedomWorks for America, which is affiliated with former GOP House Majority Leader Dic …"

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

"… y’s money has made a huge impact.After the cash infusion from Specialty, FreedomWorks produced numerous advertisements, including one that blasts Duckworth as a …"

"… r served in President Barack Obama’s U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.FreedomWorks’ new ad features grainy footage of Duckworth and audio of her saying, …"

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