Tuesday, May 26, 2015

PO Pushes Up Blue Cross Revenue 42.6 Percent

by Debbie Pelley, Contributing Author: At this rate of profit Blue Cross could finance any campaign/campaigns by the millions, enough money to even unseat those now in office and replace them with politicians that are even more favorable to ever increasing spending and more health insurance, like the Democrats for example. More Comments after Excerpt from the following article:
Affordable Care Act Pushes Up Revenue for Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield
by Mark Friedman: Arkansas Blue Cross & Blue Shield’s remarkable 42.6 percent surge in revenue in 2014 over the previous year is mainly a result of the Affordable Care Act.

The health insurance company’s revenue jumped from $1.4 billion to $1.99 billion in 2014, posting the second highest percentage revenue increase on Arkansas Business’ list of the 75 largest private companies. It is No. 3 on the list of Arkansas’ largest private companies ranked by revenue. [Pelley Comment: It may be called a private company but if so it is receiving a form of high priced subsidies from the government – private public partnership or fascism – the government picking winners and losers.]

The driver of the revenue growth was the 206,000 newly insured members who obtained coverage because of health care reform, Mark White, ABCBS’ president and CEO, recently told Arkansas Business from the company’s Little Rock headquarters.

“When we started off thinking about the ACA and the fact that there were half a million Arkansans who were without insurance, we anticipated there would be quite a bit of enrollment,” White said.

Those newly insured customers obtained their policies through the so-called “private option,” the health insurance exchange or bought health insurance on their own, White said. . . .

Arkansas accepted the federal money, crafting a unique approach to Medicaid expansion known as the private option, which uses those federal dollars to buy insurance for eligible Arkansans from private carriers — mainly Arkansas Blue Cross & Blue Shield, which offers group and individual health insurance. . . .

To gear up for the newly insured, ABCBS opened retail outlets where people can go to learn about health care policies. It also has opened temporary locations at Goodwill Industries of Arkansas’ stores around the state during the enrollment period.

That strategy proved to work. “We’ve done slightly better than we expected to,” White said.

Consumers usually stick with the providers they sign up with, unless there are rate increases or they aren’t happy with the insurer’s service, White said.

Profit Rises 22 Percent
. . . The act requires insurance companies to spend 80 percent of the premium collected on individual policies on medical care or send policyholders a refund. For group plans, it has to be 85 percent spent on medical care.

White said those percentages “are not unreasonable numbers to live with” and they haven’t created a challenge for the carrier.

ABCBS’ net income for 2014 was $46 million. That’s a 21.9 percent increase in profit, compared with the 42.6 percent increase in revenue, resulting in a slimmer margin. [Pelley Comment: So who profited from the difference in the revenue increase and the percent profit by Blue Cross?]

Private Option
. . . The federal government will pay all of the costs for the expansion through 2016, and then gradually decrease its share of the funding to 90 percent, leaving the state to pay 10 percent. . . .

White said ABCBS isn’t getting into the middle of the politics of the private option.

Removing coverage under the private option would be unfair to the 206,000 Arkansans who now have health insurance, he said.

And even with the private option, about 250,000 Arkansans remain uninsured.

“"From our perspective, we’re hoping that the program is not discontinued,"” White said. . . .
In Senator David Sanders' 2012 election he received $22,305 (15%) of his money from medical related contributions. In 2014, after being one of the main architects of the Private Option and one of its most vocal defenders, Sanders' medical related contributions totaled $76,355, slightly more than 50% of his total campaign contributions of $151,255.. Sanders had no opponent in the primary or the general election in this 2014 campaign.

Now that Sanders is going after those 1332 waivers, watch for even greater contributions from the medical field - unless some Democrat promises even more than Sanders is willing to deliver. What a mess we are in! Politicians being paid by businesses who profit from their legislation, making it harder and harder to get legislators in office that really are honest and concerned about the citizens.

Note: I was told that Speaker Gillam did not receive any significant money from his own district in his race. Count that as a rumor until I am able to trace down the documentation on that, but I have good reason to believe it's true.

Tags: Debbie Pelley, Private Option, BlueCross revenue, increased 42.6%, Arkansas, Senator, David Sanders, contributions, medical related To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

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