Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Sudden Generosity of Health Insurers

Posted By on Wed, Mar 25, 2009 at 5:59 AM

click to enlarge What? Health care execs behaving humanly?
  • What? Health care execs behaving humanly?
In the realm of contemporary evil, few can go toe-to-toe with health insurers. Over the years they've been caught running scams like systemically rejecting all claims to force customers battle for every benefit. And who can forget the time they decided new mothers should be booted from the hospital 12 hours after birth?

But if President Obama achieves nothing else over the next four years, he's at least accomplished this: Getting health insurers to behave like human beings.

Yesterday, America's Health Insurance and Blue Cross-Blue Shield announced they would stop gouging customers with pre-existing medical problems if the feds pass a universal coverage bill. It's not exactly an altruistic move. Insurers are worried that any new plan by the Obama administration will ice them out of the game, since it will require them to stop many of their current gouging practices, and force them to be much more efficient. As it stands, private insurers now spend roughly three times as much on administrative costs than government programs do. And when you're less efficient than government, let's just say you have a small problem with your business model.

Now, with the real possibility of health care reform, expect to see insurers making new concessions by the day. While Obama may not have fixed the economy in just two months, this may be an even larger miracle.

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