Thursday, June 2, 2011

Insurance companies profiting from Americans avoiding the hospital

It seems that Americans' use of doctors and clinics has dropped with the economy still at a low point, health insurers say, in a trend that keeps the companies' costs down and could bolster their profits further this year. This is crazy, so when we all don't have money the health insurance companies rake in the profit BUT still increase our monthly premiums.

Thanks to this health insurers are posting first-quarter profits well above analyst forecasts earlier this year.

The companies have been factoring increases into their pricing for their plans, but executives at an investor conference this week said utilization continued to stay low. Why.... so you make more money and decide to incresae premiums to make EVENR MORE MONEY.... Greedy!!

"Medical costs have not come back to trend levels we anticipated," UnitedHealth Group Inc, CEO Stephen Hemsley told the conference, held by Sanford Bernstein.

"But to date whether it's driven by economic trends or whatever, the medical costs continue to trend to be more moderate," Hemsley said...... Wow, this guy puts me to sleep with every word out of his mouth.... all I hear is blah, blah, blah......

Avoiding doctors

In the past, McCallister said, some (so just a hadnful??) health insurers have failed to anticipate a rebound in medical costs, and priced plans too low -- hurting results and investor confidence.
"The utilization is still relatively softer than we would have expected, no one knows when and if it is going to come back," McCallister said. "We're basically assuming that it's coming back because we're not going to miss that uptick."

Some analysts have suggested that the lower-than-expected utilization is a more fundamental change rather than a fleeting one. Due to structural changes in healthcare plans over the years, such as higher co-pays and other fees, consumers have steadily borne more of the healthcare costs.

"Typically, when people come back to work they then use health care services," Gellert said. "But in California if you're at 11.5 percent unemployment, I'm not sure that's the time you think about getting off your job and doing elective procedures."

I guess when you're having problems paying the mortgage getting botox or breast implants just don't seem that important.  I can understand why elective surgeries are down.

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