14 May 2011

Insuring the insurer

The lobbyists for the healthcare industry clearly deserve a bonus. Americans pay double what they should for healthcare and new data shows that they aren't even accessing the healthcare that they've paid for. (I guess the co-pays and hassles have finally dissuaded the poor and sick from standing in line at the doctor's office.) Of course, the insurers are still raising prices just for that rainy day. In other words, we're now paying for insurance for our insurance.

Some of the nation's biggest health insurance companies are enjoying record profits as many Americans postpone trips to the doctor or dentist. Despite the trend, "The New York Times" says major insurers continue to push for double-digit rate increases to offset the potential for a future spike in demand. The paper notes one of the largest commercial insurers, UnitedHealthGroup, reported a decrease in average hospital stays this year. Cigna also noted lower levels of medical use. According to the "Times," analysts believe the tough economy has led to fundamental changes in the way people use the health care system.

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