Health insurers win midterm election!

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: midterm results create a friendlier Congress.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Health":

"… re prices of five of the six largest for-profit Health insurers — Cigna, Health Net, Humana, UnitedHealthcare and WellPoint/Anthem — reached their highe …"

"… ix largest for-profit Health insurers — Cigna, Health Net, Humana, UnitedHealthcare and WellPoint/Anthem — reached their highest points in a year last W …"

"… d — and in some cases even tripled. If you had invested $25,000 in UnitedHealthcare stock in 2010, you would have $78,750 today, a 315 percent return. Bu …"

"… in: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans and Obamacare: What’s in It for M …"

Comparison shopping for a health plan

By Wendell Potter

California makes it easy to do your homework.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Health":

"… plans, you can go to Healthcare.gov, maintained by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, or a private online source like Healthinsurance.org, w …"

"… patient experience. They were followed by Blue Shield of California, Sharp Health Plan (in greater San Diego), and Western Health Advantage (in the Sacramen …"

"… hield of California, Sharp Health Plan (in greater San Diego), and Western Health Advantage (in the Sacramento area). All of those plans are also nonprofits …"

"… ts. The plans with the fewest stars were Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross, Cigna, Health Net and UnitedHealthcare of California, all for-profit companies. Convers …"

Health insurers turning into who knows what?

By Wendell Potter

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

Excerpts from this story referencing "UnitedHealth Group":

"… e than 30 countries in which we operate around the world.” According to UnitedHealth Group’s website, it is “the most diversified health care company in the Unit …"

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 "Texas":

"… ner of Blue Cross, was one developed by an executive of Baylor Hospital in Texas in the late 1920s. In the not too distant future, I believe we will be goi …"

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 "Congress":

"… will stumble across their salaries. Nor it is likely that many members of Congress have subscriptions to Health Plan Week. That’s a shame, becaus …"

"… ot holding my breath waiting for the media to recite those numbers. Or for Congress to pay any attention to the outsized paychecks those CEOs are demanding …"

Health insurers have their way with regulators

By Fred Schulte

Billions in Medicare Advantage overpayments likely gone for good.

Excerpts from this story referencing "media attention":

"… CMS. The inspector general’s audits are widely distributed and can draw media attention as well as demands for reform in Congress. Absent the inspector general …"

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 "Arizona":

"… eets from people with stories to share. That column was published just as Arizona media were reporting that the country’s third largest insurer had told a …"

"… r trying to save the life of a 19-year-old girl following a fiery crash in Arizona, might be facing bankruptcy. I, too, was outraged, but, sadly, not at all …"

"… or patients getting stuck with bills far beyond their ability to pay. The Arizona Republic wrote about Faraci’s nightmare as part of a series of stories a …"

What's the point, WellPoint?

By Wendell Potter

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

Excerpts from this story referencing "Obama":

"… dly be remarkable price increases” for health insurance sold through the Obamacare-created exchanges, I remembered the outrage his firm provoked four yea …"

"… its for 2009, almost twice as much as the year before, also gave President Obama what might have been his most effective talking point for reform. “If we …"

"… form. “If we don't act, this is just a preview of coming attractions,” Obama said. “Premiums will continue to rise for folks with insurance. Millions …"

"… her (and) our deficits will continue to grow larger.” Within six weeks, Obama was able to sign into law the bill that undoubtedly will be his most impor …"

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 "American Express":

"… ssociations who rely on, represent or supply the mailing industry, such as American Express, Bank of America, Conde Nast, the Envelope Manufacturers Association, FedE …"

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 "California":

"… ire environmentalists Paul Tudor Jones of Connecticut and Thomas Steyer of California, who each gave $250,000. The DGA’s filing covered the last six months o …"

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 "Congress":

"… nducted a campaign last year that targeted “select liberal members” of Congress and urged 35 Republican members of the House facing tough reelection fight …"

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 market":

"… ll inevitably occur when the switch is flipped and the long-awaited health insurance marketplaces (also called exchanges) finally go live. Yes, there will be technol …"

Unions chafing at Obamacare provisions

By Wendell Potter

Labor leaders say big business was mollified at their expense.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Health":

"… n ObamaCare, Medicare, and public Health.  Sign up now to receive our Health newsletter. ------------------------- Among the most frequent visitors to …"

The fiction of Obamacare 'rate shock'

By Wendell Potter

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

Excerpts from this story referencing "Tennessee":

"… lf months later, I’m still waiting on a response. Even though I’m from Tennessee too. Since that hearing, the headlines have diminished because there’s …"

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 "California":

"… refuse to take part. Believe me. …"

"… dual policies it currently has in effect. That decision means about 50,000 Californians will have to find another insurer by the end of the year. State Insuran …"

"… rer nationally — has never been able to muster much of a market share in California’s individual insurance market. Three other insurance companies with …"

"… h a much longer history in the state — Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield of California and Kaiser Permanente — collectively control about 90 percent of the Gol …"

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 "Comcast":

"… 's long lobbying client list includes broadcaster Al Jazeera America, Comcast, drugmaker Merck, the PGA Tour, defense contractor Raytheon and ZTE USA, t …"

OPINION: a cynical search for loopholes

By Wendell Potter

Insurers find ways to avoid 'essential benefits'.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Cigna":

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

OPINION: Vermont law illuminates claims statistics

By Wendell Potter

Vermont law illuminates disparities among health insurers

Excerpts from this story referencing "Vermont":

"… eir CEO? You can now find all of that information and more if you live in Vermont, thanks to a law that was enacted last year at the urging of the Vermont P …"

"… n Vermont, thanks to a law that was enacted last year at the urging of the Vermont Public Interest Research Group. In compliance with that law, the insurers …"

"… arch Group. In compliance with that law, the insurers that do business in Vermont have just disclosed data they’ve been able to keep secret for years.&nbs …"

"… keep secret for years. And that information should come in handy when Vermonters begin shopping for coverage at the state’s online health insurance ex …"

OPINION: 'limited benefit' plans are no real bargain

By Wendell Potter

Plans with modest premiums provide no real coverage

Excerpts from this story referencing "Mark Bertolini":

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

"… the money he had been paying Aetna in premiums—some of which went to pay Mark Bertolini’s salary—was not enough to keep him out of bankruptcy court. …"

OPINION: taking advantage of Medicare Advantage

By Wendell Potter

Feds have been overpaying for Medicare Advantage.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Aetna":

"… than 100,000 seniors, after the government adjusted payments to insurers. Aetna and a number of others insurers dumped thousands more. Shareholders were n …"

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 "General Electric":

"… cent clients include AT&T, Citigroup, Delta Airlines, Facebook, FedEx, General Electric, Goldman Sachs, the Lance Armstrong Foundation, National Association of Br …"

RGA, DGA reap riches from corporate donors

By Michael Beckel

RGA, DGA reap riches from corporate donors.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Internal Revenue Service":

"… overnors Association collected $910,000, documents filed Thursday with the Internal Revenue Service indicate. Aiding the Republicans with their significant post-election&nbs …"

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 "Mark Bertolini":

"… 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, premium hikes could soon …"

'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 "Verizon":

"… nd Investment and the Business Roundtable — executives from AT&T and Verizon, for example, are members of all three.Despite this, Romano said Fix the D …"

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 "Senate":

"… lled Freedom Fund for America's Future spent $175,000 attacking Republican Senate candidate Tom Smith during the primary.At least $165,000 of that money cam …"

Pages