Health insurers win midterm election!

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: midterm results create a friendlier Congress.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Insurance":

"… erstand that isn’t likely to happen. And they really don’t want it to. Insurance firms and their shareholders actually love the billions of dollars in new …"

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

Comparison shopping for a health plan

By Wendell Potter

California makes it easy to do your homework.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Gray Davis":

"… ver it or go to the trouble of seeking it out. Back in 2000 when Democrat Gray Davis was governor, California began operating an agency called the Office of Th …"

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 "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 "Securities and Exchange Commission":

"… tals were disclosed in the proxy statements those companies filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this spring. When I handled financial communications for Cigna, t …"

Health insurers have their way with regulators

By Fred Schulte

Billions in Medicare Advantage overpayments likely gone for good.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Pennsylvania":

"… e heart failure in a patient seen for knee pain, according to auditors. In Pennsylvania, a person treated for blurry vision was charted as having serious heart di …"

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 "Pat McCrory":

"… on, an organization formed by allies of the state’s Republican governor, Pat McCrory; and $50,000 to Keep Texas Working, a pro-business group headed by lobbyis …"

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 "reporter":

"… untry’s “fragmented health-care system.” Here’s what happened, in reporter Robert Anglen’s words: The accident happened in an instant. One second …"

"… co-insurance. As a former insurance company PR guy who used to deal with reporters when something like this happened, I can assure you that becoming a squea …"

What's the point, WellPoint?

By Wendell Potter

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

Excerpts from this story referencing "Kathleen Sebelius":

"… tions. In her own letter to Braly, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius wrote that the WellPoint proposal "reminds us that too many Americans can …"

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 "Colorado":

"… y friend Donna Smith, who as executive director of the Health Care for All Colorado Foundation, knows more about health insurance than most of us. She spent q …"

"… insurance than most of us. She spent quite a bit of time last fall on the Colorado exchange trying to figure out which plan would offer the best value for he …"

"… llenging, Kaiser and most other insurers offer several silver plans on the Colorado exchange, so Donna had to spend time trying to figure out which silver pla …"

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 "Barack Obama":

"… he continuing debate over employer-mandated coverage. Last week, President Barack Obama announced he would delay the coverage mandate for medium-sized employers u …"

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 "Republican Governors Association":

"… a significant fundraising advantage over its Democratic counterpart. The Republican Governors Association, the biggest outside spending group at the state level, outraised the Demo …"

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 "Medicare":

"… Potter column, or Center for Public Integrity investigation on ObamaCare, Medicare, and public health.  Sign up now to receive our Health newsletter. -- …"

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 "House Energy and Commerce Committee":

"… hose friends, like Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., are members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which sent out a press release on March 14 with the headline: “Obamacar …"

"… aper than what is available today. Don’t expect a press release from the House Energy and Commerce Committee about that. Another study released earlier this month also indicated that …"

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 "Barack Obama":

"… t talk about it publicly. The demise of those companies started way before Barack Obama was elected president but, with the passage of ObamaCare, it has accelerat …"

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 "Medicare":

"… ’t miss a single Center for Public Integrity investigation on ObamaCare, Medicare, and public health.  Sign up now to receive our Health newsletter. -- …"

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 "insurance":

"… made the wrong kind of headlines in California a few days back. The health insurance giant said it plans to stop selling individual coverage in the state and w …"

"… er been able to muster much of a market share in California’s individual insurance market. Three other insurance companies with a much longer history in …"

"… rket share in California’s individual insurance market. Three other insurance companies with a much longer history in the state — Anthem Blue Cross, B …"

"… collectively control about 90 percent of the Golden State’s individual insurance market. Aetna didn’t make a big effort to increase its share of that ma …"

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 "Strauss":

"… e. For top lobbying firms that do sponsor PACs, only four — Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld; K&L Gates; Ernst & Young and DLA Piper —  …"

OPINION: a cynical search for loopholes

By Wendell Potter

Insurers find ways to avoid 'essential benefits'.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Supreme Court":

"… rom bankruptcy," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in response to the Supreme Court's decision last June upholding the constitutionality of the law. But as r …"

OPINION: Vermont law illuminates claims statistics

By Wendell Potter

Vermont law illuminates disparities among health insurers

Excerpts from this story referencing "insurance":

"… nation of those high claim denial rates. …"

"… when Vermonters begin shopping for coverage at the state’s online health insurance exchange in October. With just 626,000 residents, Vermont is the second s …"

"… o Blue Cross. One of the things you need to know about the private health insurance business is that insurers make a lot of money when they delay paying a cla …"

"… of the claims the Vermont insurers denied were eventually paid. When an insurance company delays paying a claim by days, weeks or months, it can take advant …"

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 "Government":

"… nvincing the current Congress to take pity on insurers. Last week the Government Accountability Office released a report estimating that CMS overpaid priva …"

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 "ExxonMobil":

"… ients include Aetna, Airlines for America, Barclays, Boeing, Dow Chemical, ExxonMobil, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, Pfizer, the Renewable Fuels Associ …"

RGA, DGA reap riches from corporate donors

By Michael Beckel

RGA, DGA reap riches from corporate donors.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Republican Governors Association":

"… ontinue to churn. Between late November and the end of December, the Republican Governors Association pulled in nearly $2.7 million, while the Democratic Governors Association …"

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 "Medicare":

"… and the National Education Association to convince legislators not to cut Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and education.The trio opened its campaign with …"

"… ealthy?” said Kusler in a press release.Kusler also told the Center that Medicare is of special interest to the NEA, which primarily deals with education is …"

"… ich primarily deals with education issues, because when federal funding to Medicare is cut, states must make up the difference, often by cutting education bud …"

"… en by cutting education budgets.AARP is also defending Social Security and Medicare in a big way — a seven-figure ad campaign called “You’ve Earned a Sa …"

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 "energy":

"… ired a bevy of ads attacking Democratic House candidates.Oxbow Carbon, the energy company owned by billionaire William Koch, the lesser-known brother o …"

"… in making contributions to super PACs, and none have given as much as the energy giant.Caesar’s Entertainment Corp., for instance, ranked by Fortune at N …"

"… 15 million, “general business sector” firms gave about $14 million and energy sector companies contributed more than $11 million, according to the analy …"

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 …"

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