Democrats & Liberals Archives

Seniors: It’s just a business decision

Independence Blue Cross announced that they are canceling Personal Choice 65. Personal Choice 65 is a supplementary health insurance program for Senior Citizens serving to provide additional coverage on top of Medicare/Medicaid. According to Blue Cross; it was a business decision.

A business decision.

I suppose that’s accurate. Blue Cross is a ‘for profit’ company. As part of a large, nationwide network of Blue Cross / Blue Shield affiliates. IBX, like every other “for-profit” company, have profit margins to hit. And when it hits your bottom-line; it’s time to make hard decisions, regardless of the impact on those affected.

By those affected, I mean the executives and shareholders of the company; not the scores of displaced Seniors.

IBX doesn’t give a hoot about those seniors.

It’s just a little funny when, as a company, IBX promoted themselves to Senior Citizens as a savior. As something to give a little more security for those in advancing age. IBX claimed the extra cost for the program was worth the security and peace of mind. I guess that peace of mind is trumped by IBX’s balance sheet.

(link) According to Independence Blue Cross’s Personal Choice 65 website : “You’ll get more coverage than Original Medicare and a Medicare supplement.” And: “ Personal Choice 54 is a Medicare Advantage PPO plan, that gives you the freedom to go to any doctor or hospital in the U.S. without a referral.”

Sounds great, except when the company decides it’s not in their best interests of their executive bonuses.

IBX isn’t alone in displacing these Senior programs, Aetna did the same thing. Aetna announced that they were dumping their supplementary coverage for Seniors too.

Business decision.

It was my mother-in-law, a retired nurse, who was paying $249 monthly for her supplemental coverage who told me about IBX’s plan to dump the seniors. I had her contact her elected representative, Joe Sestak, a 2 term Congressman in Pennsylvania who is running for the Senate against Arlen Specter. I thought that Sestak would be empathetic to the plight of his senior constituents.

Wrong again; his office cited ‘business decision’.

Why has the phrase ‘business decision’ become the catch-all for explained away bad behavior?

We, as a compassionate society, should value the citizens’ interest over business interests. Allowing businesses to conveniently hide behind the excuse of protecting the executive bonuses over the service level promise.

In a larger context, this story illustrates the absolute absurdity of the idea that health care insurances companies are there for their well being. Health Care companies are in operation for profit. Period.

Posted by john trevisani at October 22, 2009 4:44 PM
Comments
Comment #289594

Gee John…what a revelation, “companies are in operation for profit.”

Who would have ever thought that? Let’s see, according to what I read above a company should stay in some line of business, while loosing money, to do a service to mankind. Hmmm, isn’t that your big liberal governments business?

I wonder if it ever occurred to John that there might be “valid” reasons for discontinuing a business line. According to what I read above, the decision was all about executive pay. Just wondering how John knows that.

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 22, 2009 5:52 PM
Comment #289595

When these guys do this stuff they should be forced to pay back all of the premiums that people have paid into them. People buy insurance to protect themselves for the future. Part of this agreement is that you pay some each month so that when you do incur an expense they pay for it. The reason they can do this and not lose money is that you pay each month that contribution builds up. I’m sure that they charge you more than enough to cover the average expenses and probably more so that the premiums cover those who are unlucky enough to to get sick. Canceling policies or cutting whole groups of users who have been paying them for years is pretty much theft. If they want to cancel someone’s policy and have paid out less than they have taken in they should have to pay back the balance. Oh yeah, I forgot, these people have no morals, no ethics, and no sense of fairness. They certainly have no problem ripping people off and providing the bare minimum of service and stone-walling legitimate claims. Way to go IBX. This should be something that Congress considers when writing health care legislation.

Posted by: tcsned at October 22, 2009 6:07 PM
Comment #289597

No different then what your Democrat congress will do to medicaid if the health bill gets passed. Maybe that to is a business decision.

Posted by: KAP at October 22, 2009 6:10 PM
Comment #289599

Are the Dems going to purge whole groups of users from medicare? I don’t think so. Are you defending a government run insurance company?

factcheck.org has disputed this claim that Dems are plannig to cut $500 billion from medicare.

http://www.factcheck.org/2009/08/more-senior-scare/

Posted by: tcsned at October 22, 2009 6:23 PM
Comment #289600

baretta9 - are you referring the the Republican’t health plan?

Posted by: tcsned at October 22, 2009 6:25 PM
Comment #289602

Before disparaging the entire insurance industry one should at least understand how it works. So Sad…we have become a nation of uneducated, entitlitis infested, whiners.

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 22, 2009 7:04 PM
Comment #289603

Small question… Why was this supplement plan necessary for these Medicare recipients in the first place if government managed health insurance was a good idea?

What kind of decisions are being made on the government side that requires people to seek out additional health insurance? Certainly not business decisions…

Could they be … POLITICAL decisions?

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 22, 2009 7:07 PM
Comment #289604

Rhinehold - because the GOP drilled enough holes in Medicare over the years so that their cronies in the insurance game could cash in.

Flush - I do understand how it works. Call me a “uneducated, entitlitis infested, whiner” huh? I don’t appreciate your rude insults plus I have no clue what an “entitlitis” is - that sounds like a disease sailors get. I was just pointing out how one-sided this racket is. The insurance industry holds all the cards, makes all the calls, tells you what you can and can’t have. You can pay them 10s of thousands of you hard earned dollars over the years and they can tell you “sorry we’ve stolen enough of your money you can go now.” That is why we need the public option. Really that is why we need single-payer not for profit. The “free market” has demonstrated time and time again that they are incapable of fairness and only capable of unmitigated greed.

Posted by: tcsned at October 22, 2009 7:21 PM
Comment #289606
Rhinehold - because the GOP drilled enough holes in Medicare over the years so that their cronies in the insurance game could cash in.

So I was right, POLITICAL.

BTW, what specific holes did the Republicans put into Medicare that causes Medicare recipients to NEED supplemental insurance, since that is what you are suggesting, that these individual companies are cutting off seniors from vital services.

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 22, 2009 7:24 PM
Comment #289607
The insurance industry holds all the cards, makes all the calls, tells you what you can and can’t have. You can pay them 10s of thousands of you hard earned dollars over the years and they can tell you “sorry we’ve stolen enough of your money you can go now.” That is why we need the public option.

Well, that would not get you all the way there since we have seen already that if perfect people aren’t running our government for us bad things can happen as well.

Perhaps what we REALLY need is to get the insurance companies *AND* the government out of it?

What we really need are tax-deffered HSA rollover accounts for everyone in addition to catastrophic insurance plans…

Then you don’t have to battle with insurance companies OR the government in how you spend your insurance money.

But… that’s not what the Democrats want for some reason, giving people power over their own lives like that. Shame, really.

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 22, 2009 7:28 PM
Comment #289609
The “free market” has demonstrated time and time again that they are incapable of fairness and only capable of unmitigated greed.

Incapable? That’s a word that pretty much destroys any possible validity that you have with your statements here.

So, Progressive Insurance (founded by, ran and executed with Progressive ideals) is incapable of fairness?

Of course, if you call fairness people being forced to do something with their time and money that they don’t want to do, then perhaps we just disagree on what that word means…

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 22, 2009 7:30 PM
Comment #289635

tcsned wrote; “Flush - I do understand how it works. Call me a “uneducated, entitlitis infested, whiner” huh?”

Huh…please reread and notice my use of the word “we”…not “you”.

Entitlilitis is a word use to describe those who petition their government for goodies at the expense of others. I’m entitled to receive and you’re entitled to pay.

Someone who writes;

“You can pay them 10s of thousands of you hard earned dollars over the years and they can tell you “sorry we’ve stolen enough of your money you can go now.”

has no knowledge of how insurance works. The writer of such a position would have us believe that none of the premium paid by one insured was ever used to pay the claims of another insured.

I wonder how many folks paying premiums for home insurance are disappointed because their home never burned down or blew away so they could make a claim for payment.

Insurance companies are in business to provide a service and make a profit on the service they provide. Fraud exists by both insurers and insureds as it does in nearly any private enterprise you can name. In fact, it even exists in government.

Medicare supplement insurance (Medigap) is purchased to pay for those deductions and copays on services approved by, but not paid for, by Medicare. Medicare deductions and copays exist for numerous reasons. It helps reduce the cost and premiums for Medicare. It encourages the Medicare recipient to be responsible and judicious in their use of Medicare services.

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 23, 2009 12:21 PM
Comment #289642

Man, some of you have your panties in a bunch. If a carrier decides to discontinue a plan, then simply move to another carrier. It’s called a “qualifying event,” which allows the person to move to another company with a similar policy, no questions asked.

Simple!

Posted by: John at October 23, 2009 2:01 PM
Comment #289644


The government will pass a corporate frendly healthcare bill and it will be followed by a big round of mergers and acquisitions.

Posted by: jlw at October 23, 2009 2:28 PM
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