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As the healthcare debate edges nearer to an outcome that will result in universal health coverage for all American citizens, insurance companies find themselves digging in for a battle that will see them lose million of dollars in profits.

Perhaps in response to that reality, Aetna is forcing over 650,000 of their customers to drop health covering in an effort to raise additional revenue to meet shareholder demands.

An announcement by the healthcare giant revealed that the company would also be raising existing healthcare prices for customers that will not be affected by the drop in 2010.

The percentage increase is has not been revealed.

“We view 2010 as a repositioning year, a year that does not fully reflect the earnings potential of our business. Our pricing actions should have a noticeable effect beginning in the first quarter of 2010, with additional financial impact realized during the remaining three quarters of the year,” said Aetna CEO Ron Williams via press release. “The pricing we put in place for 2009 turned out to not really be what we needed to achieve the results and margins that we had historically been delivering,”

And people say that there is no need for a public option????

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