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Posts Tagged ‘insurance premiums’

Attention buyers: rate changes likely as health plan profits dip

Health plans have been reporting their first quarter results and it is not a pretty picture. From large national plans like United Healthcare to small plans like Neighborhood Health in Boston, insurers have been beset by an unexpected event: an improvement in treatment for patients. New drugs for Hepatitis C have finally made the market after years of development, and the cost per patient can approach $100,000. For years, Hep C patients have had inadequate treatment for the disease, leaving thousands waiting for the new drugs and causing demand to surge.

The good news is that the new drugs work. The bad news is that the costs are sending insurance results to the tank and we have only seen one response to this problem before: higher health insurance rates. Read more…

Japan earthquake could cost $35 billion and be 2nd highest cat loss behind Katrina

It was reported today that insured losses from last week’s Japan quake could hit as much as $35 billion. Though it is still a preliminary estimate, it could go down as the most expensive earthquake in modern history. It could also trigger higher premiums in the insurance market after years of soft market conditions.

AIR Worldwide reported the loss estimate range between $14.5 billion to $34.6 billion, based on a range of 1.2 trillion yen to 2.8 trillion yen, converted at 81.85 yen to the dollar. Of all the catastrophes since 1970, adjusted for inflation, it would rank as the second costliest behind Hurricane Katrina.

At the start of 2010, analysts said it would take a $50 billion event to stem the price declines in the market for just a year. Since then, the industry has seen at least $10 billion in losses from an earthquake in New Zealand, unknown losses from Australian flooding, and an estimated $8 billion to $10 billion in losses from unrest in the Middle East. The losses could cumulatively be enough to trigger the hard market.

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Survey finds deep divisions on reform and budget cuts

A recent survey of 1,502 Americans by the non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation finds increasing support for specific parts of health care reform, but also divisions or outright opposition to other components. Some of the key findings:

  • 62% of Americans oppose withholding funding for implementation of health reform, the primary tactic that House Republicans are now using, while 33% support that approach.
  • 85% support closing the Medicare part D prescription drug “doughnut hole”
  • 79% support subsidies for people between 113% and 400% of the Federal Poverty Read more…

DHCFP Speaks

June 29, 2010 1 comment

DAVID MORALES

Not everyone is familiar with the Massachusetts Division of Health Care Finance and Policy (DHCFP) as Commissioner David Morales readily admits. But, this state agency is trying to drive health care cost control reform as much as anyone in the state. Alongside Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley and private industry studies such as the McKinsey study cited in earlier blogs, DHCFP is exposing the truth about rising health care costs: the biggest driver is that hospitals and doctors are getting paid much more money. Their prices have been escalating in part due to unfair competition according to AG Coakley as well as Insurance Commissioner Joseph Murphy. Read more…

Promote wellness and control your medical costs

Wellness programs in the workplace are designed to educate and assist employees to live healthier lives. But there is no denying that the overall health of employees can certainly help to reduce medical costs. Did you know that 15% of employees accrue 78% of medical expenses, and that 75% of health care costs are directly related to lifestyle and are preventable? As we enter the next phase of wellness, we find that many human resources professionals looking for new ways to proactively control their medical costs. We hosted a discussion this week with Interactive Health Solution (IHS), a partner firm that provides health awareness and preventive care programs that can help reduce the severity of claims, and ultimately allows the workforce to be more productive.  Read more…

Health insurance blame game: Instead of attacking each other, let’s attack the problem

Everyone seems to agree that health insurance premiums are too expensive and that the rate of increase is much too high. But who’s to blame for this? You might hear the buzz about the unhealthy state of the American population and our historic high levels of obesity and diabetes and other chronic health conditions. You might even see a little finger pointing at the drug companies for their huge marketing budgets and direct-to-consumer advertising. But by far, most of the blame is levied on the health insurance companies. But there’s a major piece of the healthcare equation that is missing in most of the dialog; that of the healthcare provider.

We saw this nationally with the recent passage of the PPACA (Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act). Quite a bit of the legislation Read more…

Reform will lead to growth in health insurance costs for businesses

National Health Care Reform, as signed into law this week, will lead to steeper growth in health insurance costs for businesses. The federal government had an opportunity to finally address the unsustainable costs in healthcare and the burden placed on US businesses, and chose instead to develop a trillion dollar program which does little to address costs; and instead layering further pressures on a private system in crisis. By developing a political strategy of vilifying the insurance industry, low hanging fruit no doubt, the administration lost sight of the real problem in our system, the eighty five to ninety cents of every premium dollar that are attributable to the cost of services. One need only look to the Massachusetts model to realize Obamacare will not work. Read more…