‘Non-profit’ Health Insurers in US Make Billions, Increase Premiums

by Lakshmi Gopal on Feb 10 2012 2:19 AM

 ‘Non-profit’ Health Insurers in US Make Billions, Increase Premiums
Washington's three largest insurers — Premera Blue Cross, Regence BlueShield and Group Health Cooperative — are nonprofit health insurance companies. They've however, made $2.4 billion while handing out steep rate hikes to customers.
Most publicly traded companies that make profits, face demands by shareholders to share the gains as dividends. The abovesaid companies are not public and do not have shareholders.

State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said that he was asking legislators to empower him to take a nonprofit health insurer's surplus or profit into account before allowing it to increase rates.

The three companies have raised premiums steeply for individual and small-group policies, while collecting a tidy sum of money, said Kreidler.

The companies justify their surplus saying it is needed to protect them financially in the face of unexpected costs, particularly those that result from the federal health care overhaul, and to invest in new systems.

However, the insurers now have at least $1 billion more than they need to pay claims and meet contingencies, noted Kreidler.