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| Bradshaw & Bryant PLLC

Third-quarter net income for Aetna rose 18% to $326 million from the same period in 2008. Most businesses would consider a percentage increase like that to be very good. But for Aetna, that just simply isn’t enough. The company is saying because they are seeing "much higher medical costs," the lower profit means that they must cut 625 jobs company wide and expect a similar amount of work force reductions next year.

Of interest to the health care debate is that the company is also projecting that from their 19 million members in its health insurance plans, by the end of the year they will be at 18.7 million, and in the first quarter of next year, an additional decline of between 600,000 and 650,000 members. These changes are from increased coverage prices.

It is no surprise like everyone else they are seeing increased medical costs, but considering that through contracts they pay the bills at a far reduced rate and that they are passing costs onto the consumers, it seems like the changes may have much more to do with the need for increased profits. David Gibbs, a retired health insurance industry consultant from San Luis Obispo, Calif. said Aetna’s decision comes from a system that encourages insurers to drive away sicker members — a strategy not unique to one insurer. "They’re running a business, and their obligation is a very singular one: to increase shareholder profits.

Health economist James C. Robinson, MD, PhD, has shown that Aetna completely overhauled its business between 2000 and 2003, going from 21 million members in 1999 down to 13 million in 2003, but boosting its profit margin from about 4% to higher than 7%. It looks like that is what they are doing again.

Oh and while we are at it. Who do they give their money to?

It’s funny how many of this group spoke about profits vs the consumer this past couple of weeks.

U.S. Senate Candidates

Recipient Amount

Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) $2,750

Kent Conrad (D-ND) $2,500

John Cornyn (R-TX) $3,250

Jim DeMint (R-SC) $2,000

Chris Dodd (D-CT) $5,000

Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) $1,750

Dick Durbin (D-IL) $2,500

Mike Enzi (R-WY) $5,000

Orrin Hatch (R-UT) $1,000

John Kerry (D-MA) $5,000

Carl Levin (D-MI) $ 500

Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) $1,000

Mitch McConnell (R-KY) $3,250

Ben Nelson (D-NE) $1,000

Jim Risch (R-ID) $ 750

Pat Roberts (R-KS) $4,750

Ken Salazar (D-CO) $2,000

Bob Schaffer (R-CO) $ 750

Gordon Smith (R-OR) $4,000

John Sununu (R-NH) $2,750

Mark Warner (D-VA) $4,500

Total $56,000


  1. Gravatar for ehren

    Lower profits means FEWER employees ... argh!!!!1

  2. Gravatar for Mike Bryant
    Mike Bryant

    Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Comments are closed.