Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Some more healthcare info.

I'm sure we've heard some about the stock options scandal now hitting United Health and their CEO resigning. As it turned out he was granted 1.1 billion in stock options that are highly questionable prompting him to resign. The problem that we the people should have with this is the inflated cost of healthcare premiums helping contribute to the earnings per share. Essentially, all United Health customers and all contracted providers helped him get a pretty penny. Fortunately the cosmic balance seems to be restored and he will likely now be penalized along with a few other executives.

The question we should have now is how many other companies has this gone on with? Specifically healthcare? How many megacorps under the umbrella of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield association have had this problem? How has the BC/BS Association compensated their executives?

Another really good question is, why is it that as healthcare expenses go up, insurance premiums seem to go up and in turn make more profits for the health insurers? Haven't we seen this sort of thing happen with oil? It's as though the price per barrel justification for higher pump prices is tantamount to the health insurance premiums we pay. With providers charging higher prices for services it's as though insurance companies are hiking up premiums, raking in some nice profit margins, and then placing the blame on "the industry"...just like the oil companies. If this is accurate, I would half expect the CEO of Pacificare to make a statement like "Use less healthcare" akin to the Exxon CEO's remarks on oil prices.

Just some musings, it sounds perfectly plausible given some of the news blurbs about Wellpoint's profit's going up. For the lay person, Wellpoint is the name of the parent company of a few Blue Cross plans in some states throughout the country.


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