Saturday, February 13, 2010

Anthem Blue Cross writes back

(take a chill pill, kathleen.
anthem blue cross is just doin' what comes naturally)

As I told you last time, Kathleen Sibelius wrote a stern letter to Anthem Blue Cross, demanding to know why they were raising rates as much as 39% for individual customers in California.

Well, now they have written back.

Sibelius received this detailed 5-page explanation for the rate hikes instead of the three-word answer that really would have sufficed: "Because. We. Can."

Let's take a look at Anthem's explanation, shall we? Here are some excerpts, followed by my translations in red:

Anthem's profit margin in California is in-line with and below that of many of our competitors.

Translation: The CEO of Aetna has a MUCH bigger yacht than I do.

It is important to note that the rate increases being reported in the media relate only to the individual insurance market ... which represents approximately 10 percent of our more than eight million members in California.

Translation: Besides, this change only affects 800,000 people, all of whom are obviously losers because they don't work for large corporations. Fools.

Furthermore, the figure of 39 percent being reported by media represents one of the largest rate increases and includes the impact of aging.

Translation: In fact, many of them are geezers!

It is important to know that our members often have a choice of coverage.

Translation: If they want to save some money, they can switch to our ever-popular Major Medical Instant Bankruptcy PPO Plan with a $50,000 deductible.

(later in the letter, under the heading "Why Individual Rates Are Increasing Faster Than Medical Inflation") -
In our challenging economy, a higher proportion of individuals move to lower-cost coverage.

Translation: Of course, keep in mind, if people take our advice and switch plans, we will still have to raise their rates. Hey, we gotta make a buck.

Medical costs increase each year primarily due to 1) provider prices increasing faster than general inflation and 2) increases in consumer utilization.

Translation: It's not our fault that prices keep going up. People buy insurance from us, and then they expect us to PAY when they get sick and go to the doctor. Completely unreasonable. If they would just die already, we'd all be happy. At least I would. Now kindly buzz off.


  1. Don't feel alone... it's getting bad all over. I have a huge corporate group plan. It sucks, too. Once upon a time it was the best. Memories...

  2. Have you seen the stories Keith Olbermann has been running on "Countdown" on MSNBC?
    There is a four-year old boy who needs cancer treatments and the insurance giants have DENIED him coverage for this.
    Too expensive.
    Pathetic isn't it?
    It appears the status quo has won out yet again regarding health care reform.