Wellpoint typifies our failed health insurance system

Bloomberg’s comments about Wellpoint amplify the faults of our insurance system. Remember we’re not talking about a company supplying widgets.

“WellPoint recorded $543.2 million in pretax investment losses in the fourth quarter and $1.1 billion for the year. Mistakes in setting rates, which the company blamed on computer errors, also hurt earnings. The company additionally faulted computer foul-ups for keeping elderly customers from getting drugs, leading the government to block WellPoint this month from adding Medicare customers. Layoffs by customers fed a decline of 288,000 in enrollment in the quarter.”

Wellpoint appears to have misplaced a billion dollars. What in the world are they investing in that gave them this magnitude of loss? Remember they are supposed to be holding this money in a safe place to be able to pay for our health care–and their bonuses! (they only pay 83% of revenues to patients)

After being in business for over 50 years Wellpoint still makes major errors, in their favor of course, when it comes to paying for care. In this case they blocked elderly patients from receiving their medications and overcharged others. Amazing.

Lastly, and this is not Wellpoint’s problem, when people get sick and can’t work and they lose their insurance. What happens to these people? They stop seeking preventive medical services and in emergent situations seek care through ERs and public clinics.

Guess who ultimately pays? This goes away with a national health scheme.

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