The ‘Casino Effect’ on Your Health Insurance Rates

If you’re being hit with a huge rate hike on your individual health plan next year, your insurance carrier likely ‘placed bad bets’ last year.

Minnesotans who get health insurance through the individual market last week became the latest in the country to get unwelcome news: the cost of their coverage will likely go up significantly next year. According to the state’s Commerce Department, which regulates insurance in the North Star state, some customers of Blue Cross and Blue Shield

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Insurers Say Private Medicare Plans Are Better, But We Really Don’t Know

Firms hold tight to data, so comparing their programs with traditional Medicare not possible.

Health insurers have been telling us for years that their Medicare Advantage plans, which are federally funded but privately run alternatives to traditional fee-for-service Medicare, can provide better care—at lower cost—than the government.

One of my priorities when I worked in the industry was to perpetuate that notion. And I believed the PR, so much so that I encouraged my own parents to enroll in a

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Merger of Health Insurers Usually Leads to Big Payday for Executives

Policyholders end up paying more, according to studies.

If regulators approve the recently announced mega-deals in which Aetna, Inc. would buy Humana Inc. and Anthem Inc. would buy Cigna Corp., will consumers benefit? Or will the winners be limited primarily to the executives and shareholders of the companies involved?

If history is guide, the big winners will be — you guessed it — company executives and shareholders. The companies’ customers, on the other hand, likely will have the privilege of

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Priceless Safety Net Reaches Golden Anniversary

Medicare’s impressive milestone is reason to celebrate the safety net and time for supporters to wake up to threat of increased privatization.

Happy birthday, Medicare! Happy Golden Anniversary!

If you’re just a few decades old, you might be surprised to learn that Medicare, the publicly financed health insurance program for America’s senior (65 and older) and disabled citizens is just turning 50 this month. It has become such a part of the nation’s fabric that, unless you know its history,

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GOP Myth: Obamacare is Driving Insurance Mergers

Other factors are fueling the proposed Aetna-Humana and Anthem-Cigna marriages.

Republican lawmakers and their friends in Washington’s conservative think tanks have put forth another reason Americans should hate Obamacare: it’s making the country’s biggest insurance companies gobble each other up. If the recently announced deals actually happen, they say, we’ll have fewer insurance choices.

When the CEOs of Aetna and Humana announced a few days ago that they had agreed to a deal in which Aetna will pay $37 billion

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Coming Health Insurance Mergers Will Cost Consumers

Talk of ‘eliminating redundancies’ really means layoffs.

The number of health insurers competing for your business almost certainly will decrease in coming months as the big for-profit firms merge or acquire each other.  The companies insist that the results will enable them to operate more efficiently  through the elimination of redundancies. But don’t expect your premiums to go down when the dust settles. In fact, if the past is prologue, premiums will go up.

The biggest beneficiaries will be the

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Insurers’ Arguments Key to Supreme Court Decision

Upholding Obamacare only way to avoid ‘death spiral.

It is clear from both the first paragraph and closing comments in the Supreme Court’s decision upholding Obamacare subsidies that the justices listened more closely to the insurance industry than perhaps any other party.

In an amicus brief it filed with the court in King v. Burwell, America’s Health Insurance Plans, the industry’s main trade group, painted a dire picture of what would happen to the private health insurance market—and to

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Industry Lobbies Hard to Snuff Out Tax on Medical Devices

Funds go to support Affordable Health Care Act.

If there ever was a piece of legislation influenced by campaign contributions and lobbyists, the bill to repeal a 2.3 percent excise tax on medical device manufacturers, which the House passed last Thursday, would be it.

Forty-six Democrats joined 234 Republicans to repeal the tax, which was authorized by the Affordable Care Act as one of the ways to pay for the expansion of health insurance to millions of uninsured Americans. The

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For-Profit Hospitals Mark Up Prices By More Than 1,000 Percent Because There’s Nothing To Stop Them

Health facility charges run amok.

If you think costs would come down if hospitals were all owned and operated by big for-profit corporations like Hospital Corporation of America, you might want to take a look at a study published last week by the journal Health Affairs.

Of the 50 U.S. hospitals that mark up prices the most, 49 of them are part of for-profit hospital chains, according to the study’s authors, Ge Bai of Washington & Lee University and Gerard

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