“Hold onto your health plans,” writes the San Francisco Chronicle editorial page editors. Because apparently we consumers are in for a wild ride — one in which health plans try everything under the sun to boost their profits under the new rules.
Right away, the Chron fingers WellPoint, the parent company of Anthem Blue Cross of California, as an example of insurers likely to commit bad behavior:
“One of the earliest offenders was WellPoint, one of the country’s largest insurance companies. Under the new health care law, insurers must spend 80 percent of premium dollars on medical care. In January – well ahead of the reform’s passage – WellPoint began reclassifying some of their administrative expenses as “medical spending.” The company even bragged about it to its investors.
Meanwhile, the Department of Health and Human Services and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners haven’t even finished writing the definition of “medical spending” as it will exist under the health care reforms. So this is clearly a pre-emptive move by WellPoint, to make its own classification. It’s unfair and unseemly. And if WellPoint’s allowed to get away with it, every other health insurer will do the same.”