Summary: “Health insurance can be confusing. Take the Affordable Care Act…. Health insurance companies spent a lot of money lobbying to make sure they’d profit from the eventual system,” David Belk writes over at the Huffington Post. “They were so successful, in fact, that a frequent criticism of Obamacare is that it’s just a ‘giveaway to the health insurance industry.’ Yet, one of the major emerging challenges to Obamacare is that health insurance companies are now reluctant to participate. In fact, they’ve even spent millions of dollars trying to defeat the ACA. So, why are they opposing this supposed gift to them? You could try asking the insurance companies, but don’t expect a clear answer from them. Creating confusion appears to be part of their business model. Still, most of the big health insurance companies file financial statements each year, and these financial statements can give us clues that might explain their behavior. Before we jump into their financial statements, let’s first take a moment to understand the insurance business. Insurance is a bet you make with a large company that something bad will happen to you. It’s a strange bet, because both you and the company hope you’ll lose. Just to make sure you’ll lose, insurance companies hire high-priced financial talent to guarantee their odds of winning; they know exactly how to rig the game. So imagine my surprise when I started analyzing insurance company financial records and found that the big insurance companies have spent years getting out of the commercial health insurance business. This explains why they’re rejecting Obamacare: it turns out the last thing they really wanted was millions of new commercial customers to insure.” David Belk, “The Obamacare Paradox: The Real Reason Health Insurance Companies Don’t Like the ACA,” The Huffington Post.
Jeanne Pinder is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The New York Times for almost 25 years as a reporter, editor and human resources executive, then volunteered for a buyout and founded... More by Jeanne Pinder