Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Dirty little secret: Insurers actually are making a mint from Obamacare

It seems that insurers are perfectly happy and prosperous competing in the markets where the government is the payer. — Healthcare analyst Andrew Sprung
Michael Hiltzik, Contact Reporter, The LA Times

For months now, headlines about the Affordable Care Act have focused on complaints from big insurers that they haven't been making money from individual insurance plans mandated by the act.

The big insurer UnitedHealth Group has even whined about losing so many millions it's thinking about withdrawing from the Obamacare marketplace as soon as next year. Others, including Anthem and Aetna, have mentioned that their exchange business isn't yet profitable, though they're not talking about pulling the plug.

Here's what they haven't been saying so loudly: They're making scads of money from Obamacare — so much that almost universally, they're expanding their participation.

What's the catch? The big profits have come not from the insurance exchanges, but via the ACA's Medicaid expansion, in which the largest insurers have been playing a major role. The same insurance executives who go out of their way to badmouth the ACA's individual exchange plans talk as though they can't get enough of the Medicaid business, especially its managed care component.

(More here.)


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