Profits over People

In this Wall Street Journal story from yesterday, Wellpoint’s CEO is appallingly frank:

In calls with analysts and investors, WellPoint executives have stressed that it
is working to keep its more-profitable business and that the customers leaving
tend to be costlier ones. “We’re keeping good members and healthy lives that we
had been concerned about [losing] in the past,” Ms. Braly told analysts last
month.

Translation: “Awesome. We won’t have to spend money paying for sick people.”
(This is how Sarah Palin thinks the market should work?)

The story, however, touches on a familiar trend throughout the insurance industry — the loss of employer-sponsored plans. Since 2001, the percentage of firms offering coverage has slipped nearly 10% in less than a decade to 59%.

Nevertheless, Wellpoint increased premiums yesterday to placate investors and as a result expects about 150,000 more business members (on top of the 189,000 business members they’ve already lost this year) to drop coverage.

Sidenote: Of course, we can expect the number of employers that would drop coverage to *increase* if McCain/Palin win office, as their plan allows insurers to run amok and tax businesses for providing this basic benefit to workers, making the individual market (least efficient, most expensive) more attractive.

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.

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