The End of Health Insurance in America?

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Ben Cohen
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English: President Barack Obama's signature on...

It’s not often that you hear the leader of a Fortune 100 company publicly acknowledge the imminent demise of his venerable, profitable business model.

Yet, speaking at the HIMSS12 Conference in Las Vegas, Aetna CEO, Chairman and President Mark Bertolini, said a reckoning for the traditional health insurance model was at hand. “The system doesn’t work, it’s broke today” Bertolini told attendees. “The end of insurance companies, the way we’ve run the business in the past, is here.”

Bertolini said an amalgamation of regulatory, demographic and economic factors were driving this change. The Affordable Care Act in particular, with its ban on medical underwriting, has made the traditional health insurance business model untenable in the long term, he said.  Nonetheless, he offered measured praise for the law, even citing the controversial medical loss ratio rules as having a smoothing effect on premium swings. “We got pulled through the crucible against our will and have been reshaped because of it,” he said. “For most of what has already been implemented, it has been a pretty good thing.” Read more...

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