Saturday, August 1, 2009

For-Profit Insurance Companies & Health Care/HMO Business In 1990s Revisited

No Benefit: Crisis In America’s Health Industry by Lawrence Weiss indicated in the 1990s that the giant Prudential, Aetna Life Casualty and CIGNA insurance companies then had a special interest in the Health Care/HMO Business:

“Commercial insurance corporations in particular are purchasing a large portion of HMOs. For example, in 1990 Aetna Life Casualty agreed to shell out up to $34 million to purchase Partners National Health Plans, which is among the five largest health maintenance organizations in the United States. CIGNA Healthplan, Inc., also ranks among the top five. Prudential recently expanded its HMO, ProCare into the hot California market…”

And Hoover’s Handbook of American Business noted in the early 1990s that “Prudential’s health plan offerings, enrolling 2.5 million people [1991 sales of $791 million] include PruCare HMO and PruCare Plus” and “The American Association of Retired Persons is its largest group-health client.”

The Canadian plan and/or Single-Payer health care reform proposals would apparently create a less costly plan than the kind of health care reform programs that were developed by for-profit Big insurance companies over the last twenty years. As No Benefit: Crisis In America’s Health Insurance Industry revealed as long ago as the 1990s:

“A study in the state of Washington by Washington Citizen Action indicated that `it cost commercial insurance companies like Prudential and Aetna $148.9 million more to provide Washington residents with insurance than it would have cost the Canadian system or the Medicare program to provide the same benefits.’ The Washington researchers estimated that 126,000 uninsured Washington residents could be provided health insurance with the money wasted by commercial health insurance overhead in their state…”

(Downtown 10/13/93)

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