Medical Insurance Company Abuses: The Public Option Should Be Put Back On The Table

by Ben Hoffman

California regulators are seeking fines of up to $9.9 billion from health insurer PacifiCare over allegations that it repeatedly mismanaged medical claims, lost thousands of patient documents, failed to pay doctors what they were owed and ignored calls to fix the problems.

In court filings and other documents, the California Department of Insurance says PacifiCare violated state law nearly 1 million times from 2006 to 2008 after it was purchased by UnitedHealth Group Inc., the nation’s largest health insurance company by revenue.

Regulators said the companies broke promises to maintain smooth operations for 130,000 of PacifiCare’s customers, resulting in what insurance officials nationwide believe is the largest fine ever sought against a U.S. health insurer.

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“This is about intentional disregard for the interests of doctors, hospitals and patients in California, and the pursuit of cutting costs at any means possible,” said Adam Cole, the insurance department’s general counsel. “It’s a story of intense corporate greed.”

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46 Responses to “Medical Insurance Company Abuses: The Public Option Should Be Put Back On The Table”

  1. And the government running health care would be better why?

    Oh that corporate greed! Those greedy health insurance companies with their exorbitant profits of under 4% average. Obscene I tell ya!

    • Yep, that’s the right-wing spin.

      Some of us don’t like the idea of 20% of our premiums going to administration of health insurance and multi-million dollar salaries for CEOs. You right-wingers are against choice.

      • [Some of us don’t like the idea of 20% of our premiums going to administration of health insurance and multi-million dollar salaries for CEOs]

        So are you going to call out your beloved Obama for maying a multi-million dollar salary to CEO of Government Motors? Hmmmm?

        “New General Motors Co. CEO Daniel Akerson will get the same $9 million pay package as the man he replaced, Ed Whitacre.”

        Approved, BTW, by the “pay-czar.”

        This is the same Government Motors which reported an insane profit back in August:

        “General Motors Co., 61 percent owned by the U.S. government, reported second-quarter net income of $1.54 billion on increased vehicle sales and production as the Detroit automaker prepares for an initial public offering.”

      • GM profits are good. The higher their stock price, the greater returns on our investment.

        As far as Daniel Akerson, that’s not the worst of it. He’s also Managing Director of The Carlyle Group, which was partially financed by the bin Laden family and may have a connection to the 9/11 attack.

        But the big difference between the two examples is product. GM produces a product. Many products. Those products require R&D, manufacturing, engineering, advertising, products from other manufacturers, dealerships, etc…

        Insurance companies don’t produce a product and the only service they provide is taking your money and giving it to the health care provider, but first they skim off up to 20%.

        Also, health insurance is a necessity. A car is not.

      • [GM profits are good. The higher their stock price, the greater returns on our investment.]

        True, just as those of investing in ExxonMobil like greater returns on OUR investment.

        [Insurance companies don’t produce a product and the only service they provide is taking your money and giving it to the health care provider, but first they skim off up to 20%.]

        How simplistic. They don’t just take your money and give it to providers. They INSURE you against catastrophic risk. Ask a long-term cancer patient or heart patient if the premiums were worth it after the insurer paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars against thousands of dollars in premium.

        [Also, health insurance is a necessity. A car is not.]

        Wrong. Health insurance is NOT a necessity. Plenty of people get along just fine without it. And if that argument were true, which it’s stupidity is apparent on its face, then many could argue that a car is a necessity to get to work, etc.

      • [Health insurance is NOT a necessity. Plenty of people get along just fine without it.]

        Sure, they get along just fine, just as long as they don’t get sick or injured. Even with insurance, a catastrophic illness or injury often bankrupts the victim.

      • Do I need to type slower so you can keep up”

        [Sure, they get along just fine, just as long as they don’t get sick or injured. Even with insurance, a catastrophic illness or injury often bankrupts the victim.]

        I didn’t say that everyone who has no insurance gets along fine. I said PLENTY of people do so. That’s a fact. For others, there should be a safety net.

  2. So, are you against the boards making the “choice” of what their CEOs make? And just how much is too much for CEO salaries? And just who gets to decide that?

    • [So, are you against the boards making the “choice” of what their CEOs make?]

      Not at all. I’d just like the option of not having to pay into it and you right-wingers are against having that choice.

  3. [you right-wingers are against having that choice.]

    I’m for you having that choice. Just don’t buy insurance from them! Pretty simple seems to me. Nobody is forcing you to buy insurance, yet (Obama’s mandate forcing you to comes later).

  4. Thanks. That’s a compliment coming from you. But as usual, you evade.

  5. Oh and this just in from the WSJ:

    [Aetna Inc., some BlueCross BlueShield plans and other smaller carriers have asked for premium increases of between 1% and 9% to pay for extra benefits required under the law, according to filings with state regulators.

    These and other insurers say Congress’s landmark refashioning of U.S. health coverage, which passed in March after a brutal fight, is causing them to pass on more costs to consumers than Democrats predicted.]

    This is so simple. It’s just high school economics. Government forces insurance companies to take on more risk. Insurance companies have to pass the increase costs on to the consumer in the form of higher premiums. Duh!

    Numbskulls (Democrats) running the country!

    • All the more reason we should have a government option. Duh.

    • [companies have to pass the increase costs on to the consumer ]

      And they never raised premiums before. Nine percent is nothing. In ’08 premiums at my employer went up 28%. It was 30% the year before. So I guess we could say it came down. We changed insurance companies regularly trying to stay ahead of the increases but the trend never slowed. Up,up,up.

      I’m on Medicare now thank elvis – best insurance I ever had.

      • Oh they’ve raised premiums before. Certainly. My point here is that obamacare was supposed to REDUCE costs. But when the govt. mandates increased the carriers take on risk (read increased cash outlays by the carrier) premiums GO UP. Common sense and simple econ. Unless of course lefties think that for profit companies should just play nice and absorb increased costs.

  6. And the governments record on running any health plans fiscally responsibly and efficiently is what?

    • [And the governments record on running any health plans fiscally responsibly and efficiently is what?]

      And the private insurers’ record on running any health plans fiscally responsibly and efficiently is what? Medicare has a 3% overhead. Private insurers have up to a 20% overhead.

  7. And how is medicaid and medicare doing financially

    • And how are private insurers doing? Insurance rates have skyrocketed in that past 10 years!

      Tell me Ben, who is your insurance through? I have a feeling you’re living on SS and Medicare.

  8. You make the claim that the public option is needed. Faced with questions about the government’s ability to run health programs fiscally responsibly and efficiently, your reply is crickets chirping, or just answering with questions. Figures, because you don’t want to answer and acknowledge that both are bankrupt.

    Private insurance.

  9. Hypocrite? How? because I have private insurance? According to your way of thinking I should be mad as hell.

  10. Not one you’ve probably heard of.

  11. Well maybe you have. Mercy Health Plans is an option for us in Iowa.

  12. What do you know about my religion, hmmm? Name it since you referred to me as a religious fanatic. Or, is that just more blow hard rhetoric?

    And what would Jesus be proud of? Can you name some things?

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