Mar 15, 2010
Anthem Blue Cross of California raised premiums for individual customers by up to 39%. Anthem’s parent company, WellPoint, has increased rates by more than 10% in eleven other states. Some companies in Illinois have raised rates by as much as 60%. Blue Cross of Michigan requested a 56% increase on individual policies, only to be told it could raise them by “only” 22%.
The insurance companies try to justify this extortion by claiming they are losing money on individual policies. Yet Anthem of California returned 525 million dollars to its parent company, WellPoint, last year and has given back more than 4.2 billion dollars to WellPoint since 2004. The top five health insurance companies – WellPoint, United Health Group, Cigna, Aetna, and Humana – had combined profits of 12.2 billion dollars last year, an increase of 56% from 2009. Blue Cross of Michigan admits it made money last year, but brushes that off by adding that it made money only on its investments.
That’s what insurance companies do! They are financial companies, investing money from their premiums and their reserves. Even in those years they supposedly “lose money,” they make it. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has been building up its reserves for years.
Health insurance companies are big money making machines first and foremost. Health care is only incidental.