Aetna to Wall Street: We’ll raise prices, cut benefits, and dump 600,000 policy holders to boost 2010 profits

Protest at Aetna

Aetna prepares for loss of 600,000 members as it raises 2010 prices

Executives say the company can be more profitable by dropping some business — the same decision the plan has made before.

By Emily Berry, amednews staff. Posted Nov. 30, 2009.

Back when it was the largest private health plan in the country, Aetna downsized its membership by millions but boosted profits during an overhaul of its business several years ago.

Now it looks to be making a similar — but smaller — move with a planned price increase for many of its customers in 2010.

The company figures it will lose between 600,000 and 650,000 members next year because of the price hikes.

In a conference call with investment analysts to discuss the company’s third-quarter earnings, Chair and CEO Ron Williams told analysts, “The pricing we put in place for 2009 turned out to not really be what we needed to achieve the results and margins that we had historically been delivering.”

Continue reading Aetna to Wall Street: We’ll raise prices, cut benefits, and dump 600,000 policy holders to boost 2010 profits

Expiration of COBRA subsidy will hit families hard: Americans need Medicare for All

Family health insurance to rise sharply without COBRA subsidy

Tony Pugh | McClatchy Newspapers

last updated: December 01, 2009 06:32:41 AM

WASHINGTON — A new study estimates that the end of a hefty government subsidy could force millions of laid-off workers to pay more than 80 percent of their monthly unemployment checks to keep their job-based family health insurance coverage intact.

An estimated 7 million jobless workers and their dependents are thought to have received the temporary subsidy, which pays 65 percent of their health insurance premiums under a law known as COBRA, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act.

Continue reading Expiration of COBRA subsidy will hit families hard: Americans need Medicare for All

PA Rep. Bud George: PA needs severance tax on gas drillers

Gas drillers aren’t paying their fair share

By Patriot-News Op-Ed

by Rep. Camille ‘Bud’ George

It feels more like Halloween than Thanksgiving for many Pennsylvanians.

Poverty is worse than first believed. Using a formula that accounts for rising Medicare premiums, deductibles and a coverage gap in the drug benefit costs, a recent report said almost 47.5 million Americans lived last year in poverty, seven million more than the government’s official figure.

Continue reading PA Rep. Bud George: PA needs severance tax on gas drillers