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, maintained by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, or a private online source like, 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 …"

New types of health care delivery are improving the 'patient experience'

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: eliminating role of insurers could improve health care delivery.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Health":

"… s in It for Me? What Everyone Needs to Know About the Affordable Care Act. …"

"… fact, in some ways they have been part of the problem. Providence-Swedish Health Alliance, a not-for-profit, hospital-based accountable care organization ( …"

"… he Health insurance market are hiring companies like Chicago-based Valence Health, a fast-growing firm that offers services ranging from claims adjudication …"

"… 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 …"

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 insurance":

"… and even to hospitals that are looking to operate their own health plans. Health insurance in this country was initially provider-based and community-rated. The firs …"

Defeat of California initiative would protect insurers' profits

By Wendell Potter

Proposition 45 would allow California's insurance chief to block insurance rate hikes; insurers are spending millions to kill it.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Barack Obama":

"… ent last week on an ad in featuring a large picture of President Barack Obama and this message: “Protect Obamacare from Legal Attacks. Prop 45’s Dir …"

Obamacare-driven competition lowering rates in some states

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: much-maligned Affordable Care Act attracting for-profit insurers, driving prices down in some states.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Oregon":

"… both of which are saying they will reduce premiums for 2015 coverage. Oregon: Oregon’s Health CO-OP is seeking a 16 percent decrease in premiums for …"

"… which are saying they will reduce premiums for 2015 coverage. Oregon: Oregon’s Health CO-OP is seeking a 16 percent decrease in premiums for its gold …"

"… roposing to increase rates for comparable coverage by 13 percent. Overall, Oregon’s Health CO-OP says it plans to cut premiums by 21 percent. Residents …"

Attack ads may actually be benefiting Obamacare enrollment

By Wendell Potter

Publicity from attacks may actually help hike enrollment.

Excerpts from this story referencing "North Carolina":

"… pending on anti-Obamacare ads so far are Kentucky, Arkansas, Louisiana and North Carolina, where hotly contested Senate races are underway. Senate Majority Leader M …"

"… ocrats Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Kay Hagan of North Carolina are facing serious re-election threats. The balance of power in the Senate …"

Insurers following 'the playbook' in opposing California ballot initiative

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: multi-faceted effort to defeat California ballot initiative.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Consumer Watchdog":

"… subject to influence. Health care reform advocates in California, led by Consumer Watchdog, are supporting a November ballot initiative to give the state insurance d …"

What's the point, WellPoint?

By Wendell Potter

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

Excerpts from this story referencing "Humana":

"… r. No other company seemed the least bit interested in making predictions. Humana declined to comment. An Aetna spokeswoman was quoted as saying only that, …"

The health care industry's campaign of fear, uncertainty and doubt

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: health insurers use a host of tactics to erode support for Obamacare.

Excerpts from this story referencing "California":

"… e advocacy organization, released the following statement in response to a California rally held by Michael Moore and a variety of advocates in support of a gov …"

New Fed study says health reform can reduce financial stress

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: Massachusetts law eases financial stress.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Oregon":

"… omics that showed “enormous reductions in financial stress” among Oregon residents who became insured after the state broadened access to coverage …"

Sorting out why insurers cancel policies

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: blaming Obamacare masks real motives.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Cigna":

"… her euphemism, by the way.   I myself — and thousands of my fellow Cigna employees — were notified several years ago, long before I left my job, …"

"… g discontinued. Yep, we got notices in the mail. If we wanted to stay in a Cigna-subsidized health plan, we would have to switch to a high-deductible plan. …"

Government needs to fix Obamacare glitches — fast

By Wendell Potter

COMMENTARY: Government should be more forthcoming about computer glitches in Obamacare.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Cigna":

"… least in health care. I remember all too well when more than a decade ago Cigna encountered huge problems when it began moving its policyholders from nume …"

"… t was a mess that cost the company dearly. And that was just one company. Cigna eventually fixed the problems and recovered. Chances are most of the compa …"

Opponents' missteps locked in Obamacare's future

By Wendell Potter

COMMENTARY: Republicans overplayed their hand, just as WellPoint did in 2010.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Scott Brown":

"… and other special interests had taken its toll. It even helped Republican Scott Brown win what was thought to be a safe seat for Democrats in a special election …"

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: Pro-industry amendments lard up Missouri insurance legislation

By Wendell Potter

OPINION: Simple health insurance bill in Missouri becomes industry dream, consumer nightmare.

OPINION: smoothing out Medicaid's 'churn'

By Wendell Potter

Proposed legislation would protect folks from briefly losing benefits.

Excerpts from this story referencing "chronic diseases":

"… coverage often lead to significant increases in hospitalization  for chronic diseases like diabetes, asthma and mental disorders. “Churning has a pervasive n …"

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: industry pushes high-deductible insurance plans

By Wendell Potter

Employers, insurers see high-deductible health plans as wave of the future.

OPINION: the behind-the-scenes battle that could subvert Obamacare

By Wendell Potter

Battle over stop-loss coverage could eliminate consumer protections

Excerpts from this story referencing "Humana":

"… ng when you look at its board, which includes WellPoint, UnitedHealthcare, Humana and Cigna, one of the biggest sellers of stop-loss insurance.Consumer advo …"

Health insurance PACs have love-hate relationship with health care reform

By Reity O'Brien

Health insurance PACs gave generously to reform opponents while supporting the Obama plan.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Aetna":

"… cessful implementation.”Likewise, Ron Williams, then chairman and CEO of Aetna, the country’s fifth-largest health insurance company, also spoke favora …"

"… ing the quality and value of care people receive.”But Williams, who left Aetna in April 2011, has since changed his mind. This past June, Williams penned …"

"… rst of 33 repeal efforts that have reached the House floor.That same year, Aetna, Humana, UnitedHealth Group and WellPoint — which together control 28 pe …"

"… ’s telephone or email inquiries requesting comment. Representatives from Aetna, Amerigroup, Cigna and Humana declined to comment for this story.Ethan Rom …"

OPINION: ObamaCare's crucial benefits

By Wendell Potter

Health care law will cap out-of-pocket spending

OPINION: The illusory promise of free-market health care miracles

By Wendell Potter

Republicans keep touting free-market health care, but there's no evidence it works.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Tampa":

"… on’s health care reform legislation 18 years ago.Like the politicians in Tampa, we insisted then that a big government program not only wasn’t needed, …"

OPINION: Real-world health insurance math doesn't add up

By Wendell Potter

Grad student had insurance, but had to shame Aetna to get cancer bills covered.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Twitter":

"… of just how inadequate some of the company’s policies are.And thanks to Twitter, the rest of us got a better understanding of how U.S. health insurers are …"

"… to set up a provocatively named website — — and to use Twitter and other social media to raise money to pay the claims Aetna was denying. …"

"… all the other people affected by this grossly unfair policy who don't have Twitter accounts and followings? Is the CEO of Aetna going to pay for all of their …"

OPINION: Why insurers want ObamaCare's Medicaid business

By Wendell Potter

Pay no attention to GOP governors; health insurers want that new Medicaid business.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Humana":

"… for-profit insurance companies (UnitedHealth, WellPoint, Aetna, Cigna and Humana), you’ll see that the biggest growth in their membership has come not fr …"

Mitt Romney

Governors put off health care questions, for now

By The Associated Press

Concerned about costs, governors put off decisions on health care law until after Election Day

Excerpts from this story referencing "Wisconsin":

"… for their residents. But in other states, including Virginia, Nebraska and Wisconsin, Republican governors said not to expect a decision before Obama and Repub …"

"… Gov. Jan Brewer told The Associated Press. "So yeah, I'm a little gun-shy."Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who survived a recall election in June, said in an inte …"

2 paths forward for uninsured, 1 clouded by ruling

By The Associated Press

Court ruling giving states leeway on Medicaid casts uncertainty on new coverage for millions

Excerpts from this story referencing "Jay Rockefeller":

"… oday and who cannot afford to pay for private health insurance," said Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va. About 60 percent of the more than 265,000 uninsured people in his …"

OPINION: Translating the insurance industry's feel-good rhetoric

By Wendell Potter

Industry rhetoric obscures the real agenda

OPINION: Could nonprofit health insurance plans be the real reformers?

By Wendell Potter

Nonprofit health insurance just might be the sleeper solution in healthcare reform law.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Maine":

"… 82 million in low-interest loans to 12-nonprofit groups from California to Maine to help them overcome those barriers to entry. The reform law provides a t …"

"… ative potential of CO-OPs is Mila Kofman, former insurance commissioner in Maine who is now a research professor and project director at Georgetown Univers …"

"… fman speaks from experience. The individual and small group marketplace in Maine was dominated by for-profit Anthem Blue Cross (a subsidiary of WellPoint) …"

"… p to competition, other companies can grow, too, which is what happened in Maine.”Kofman said she believes there is great potential depending on how the …"

Public offers mixed support for military healthcare changes

By Aaron Mehta

The public supports reducing some military healthcare and personnel expenses, but not others.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Center for Public Integrity":

"… three nonprofit groups, including the Program for Public Consultation, the Center for Public Integrity and the Stimson Center.Military personnel costs have nearly doubled since …"