Aetna CEO warns: Expect price hikes, bankruptcies, and policy changes

posted at 1:35 pm on March 29, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

“If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor … If you like your coverage, you can keep your coverage.”  Barack Obama repeatedly offered these promises to audiences across the US in campaigning for ObamaCare, but Ron Williams, CEO of Aetna, begs to differ.  Williams provides health insurance to over 36 million people, and he has one message for Charlie Rose and the US — expect change:

Will insurance premiums go up?
The answer is yes, and some of the things that will drive those premiums are significant additional taxes the industry will ultimately have to pay in the first year.

The President said that this bill would not have any impact on people who already had coverage, that it was about the uninsured, that there would be no change. Will this legislation change the coverage of people who are already paying for it?
My perception is, yes, things will change. You might not have a plan that includes the exact same doctors. You might have plans that have richer benefits, and therefore you’re going to pay more for benefits you may or may not want. It would have been a better message to say, we’re going to make certain you maintain your eligibility.

Williams also expressed disappointment in the demonization of insurers during the ObamaCare debate.  Aetna employs over 35,000 people in that industry, and they certainly don’t see themselves as villains.  Although he doesn’t mention it, Williams had to have found himself a bit nonplussed over all the hyperbole about industry profiteering, too, with the health-insurance industry’s average of two to six points of annual margin.

That brings us to Williams’ assessment of the industry after ObamaCare.  One reason that people may have fewer choices in health insurance — and why they may lose their doctor or plan — is because smaller insurers won’t survive.  The new mandates and the expenses incurred by insurers that didn’t plan for them will swamp them in a sea of red ink.  Williams sees these insurers with their boutique plans as endangered species, who will either get swallowed whole by larger companies and their plans discontinued, or will succumb to bankruptcy and fail outright.

As Jim Geraghty says, every promise from Obama comes with an expiration date.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Sadly, Dems cannot legislate economic reality.

BuckeyeSam on March 29, 2010 at 2:15 PM

Bishop on March 29, 2010 at 2:04 PM

Social Justice it getting what you diserve, not getting what others have earned that truly diserve it. People with bad luck are one thing, and thy should get help. Healthy people that don’t try and give up like French soldiers diserve what they get from the effort they make.

saiga on March 29, 2010 at 2:15 PM

Countdown until Ron Williams is “summoned” before the statist a$$hats that have taken over the democrat party in 5, 4, 3, 2….

visions on March 29, 2010 at 2:15 PM

Wouldn’t it be cheaper to just cancel my policy now and sign up if/when I’m admitted to the hosptital?

TN Mom on March 29, 2010 at 2:11 PM

I’m only going to pay at my current rate. Any bills for an increase I’m forwarding to the White House. I’m sure Mr. O will pay for them.

Rod on March 29, 2010 at 2:16 PM

Clearly, the Aetna CEO doesn’t know what’s in this bill. Or how health insurance works.

After all, those of us who have been saying the same thing for months now were told, “Hush, you obviously haven’t read the bill.”

CatsGodot on March 29, 2010 at 2:16 PM

If higher rates mean that social justice will finally become a reality, then I’m all for it. The complete lack of social justice has been an impediment to American society for too long.

Bishop on March 29, 2010 at 1:52 PM

You forgot the sarc tag.

inmypajamas on March 29, 2010 at 2:16 PM

If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor…”

Translated:

If you like being spoonfed horsesh*t, you can keep being spoonfed horseshi*t…”

profitsbeard on March 29, 2010 at 2:16 PM

I hope democrats make this evil greedy CEO of a big company in an unfair industry pay dearly.

daesleeper on March 29, 2010 at 2:17 PM

Now they begin stating the facts…a little late?

right2bright on March 29, 2010 at 2:17 PM

Yes, you should have stopped drinking and sniffing glue first.

Chip on March 29, 2010 at 2:13 PM

Have a snort! Obamacare has you covered.

/s

TN Mom on March 29, 2010 at 2:17 PM

I think I am going to invest in white lab coats, surgical gloves, and anal lube…

… then hang a sign outside my house that says “Free Health Clinique”.

Think of the possibilities…!

Seven Percent Solution on March 29, 2010 at 2:18 PM

Columbus Ohio is an insurance town also. Except most of the insurance companies in Columbus are car, home, renters, etc insurance companies, not health insurance. Although I’m sure the people in Washington will find a way to take those type of insurance companies as well.

MobileVideoEngineer on March 29, 2010 at 2:14 PM

These AnninCAers won’t be happy until they completely destroy capitalism.

OmahaConservative on March 29, 2010 at 2:18 PM

Expect price hikes, bankruptcies, and policy changes

Of course, that’s the point. The evil insurance companies will be blamed and Marxism will come roaring in to save the day.

faraway on March 29, 2010 at 2:19 PM

Just a guess folks, but I think Bishop was being sarcastic.

TXMomof3 on March 29, 2010 at 2:14 PM

Yes. He likes doing that. I fell for it once and it took me a year and many sleepless nights to live it down.

Rod on March 29, 2010 at 2:19 PM

I’m only going to pay at my current rate. Any bills for an increase I’m forwarding to the White House. I’m sure Mr. O will pay for them.

Rod on March 29, 2010 at 2:16 PM

When do we get our $2500 that Obama promised?

TN Mom on March 29, 2010 at 2:19 PM

I have worked in the inner city. The welfare state kills hope, opportunity, motivation, and gumption. People move up out of the inner cities every day, and welfare isn’t what does it. Welfare is what restricts it. Effort is what does it.

saiga on March 29, 2010 at 2:19 PM

During the New Deal FDR made deals with the largest industrial companies at the expense of small to medium companies. It wasn’t just the economy that caused the 20 or so American auto companies which existed in the 20s, to reduce doewn to 6 or 7 (the Big 3, Nash, Studebaker, Packard, Willys). It was the New Deal’s and the Reconstruction Finance Corp’s marriages with the largest auto companies. This is happening again. Expect no more than 10 Health insurers to survive Obamacare.

xkaydet65 on March 29, 2010 at 2:20 PM

I’m starting to think that the Republicans’ strategy should have been to push to get all these provisions enacted sooner.

They should have come out and say “We need these new policies now and not in 2014, if it that’s important.”

A lot of this is still going to take a while to come to light.

I’m sure a lot more people are concerned about Sandra Bullock right now. This summer I expect an increase in shark attack reporting, and Lord help us if there is a hurricane before the elections.

reaganaut on March 29, 2010 at 2:20 PM

Yes. He likes doing that. I fell for it once and it took me a year and many sleepless nights to live it down.

Rod on March 29, 2010 at 2:19 PM

Not me. Throw me a slow pitch, and I will never miss the opportunity to whack it.

saiga on March 29, 2010 at 2:21 PM

This is Big F***ing Deal.

faraway on March 29, 2010 at 2:21 PM

If higher rates mean that social justice will finally become a reality, then I’m all for it. The complete lack of social justice has been an impediment to American society for too long.

Bishop on March 29, 2010 at 1:52 PM

HAHAHAHA!
That is great, very sarcastic…
All of social justice has been wiped out by this bill…free at last, free at last….
Great funny post…
Social Justice always depends on how much taxes and how much you spend on something….
Raise the price of cars, and all the accidents will disappear.
Pay more to the weatherman, and no more winter weather.
Pay more to the congressmen, and you will get better bills…pay more to the hooker and find true love….

right2bright on March 29, 2010 at 2:22 PM

Expect price hikes, bankruptcies, and policy changes

You know what’s next, don’t you…

“See, I told you capitalism doesn’t work! Now, to the new Constitution that is 5,000 pages and written behind our closed doors…

… In order to see what’s in it, we have to pass it first. And if you’re wondering why I am wearing this uniform, well don’t worry, it’s just a little something Michelle likes me to do.” – Barack Hussein Obowma, 2012.

Seven Percent Solution on March 29, 2010 at 2:25 PM

Starving fat kids.

Johnnyreb on March 29, 2010 at 2:13 PM

My son has a friend with a t-shirt that says, “Nobody kidnaps fat kids”.

ladyingray on March 29, 2010 at 2:25 PM

I’m sure a lot more people are concerned about Sandra Bullock right now. This summer I expect an increase in shark attack reporting, and Lord help us if there is a hurricane before the elections.

reaganaut on March 29, 2010 at 2:20 PM

Don’t forget the many poor kitties stuck up in trees!

And the Census!

Thousands of vital human interest stories to cover!

Maybe tens of thousands …all helped by Big Nanny State… right up to election day!

profitsbeard on March 29, 2010 at 2:26 PM

pay more to the hooker and find true love….

right2bright on March 29, 2010 at 2:22 PM

Good point. I have seen it in action, and had a great laugh watching the whole saga unfold after the money runs out. Seeing chumps get chumped can be such fun.

saiga on March 29, 2010 at 2:27 PM

The complete lack of social justice has been an impediment to American society for too long.

Bishop on March 29, 2010 at 1:52 PM

that’s a joke right?

HondaV65 on March 29, 2010 at 2:28 PM

Yes. He likes doing that. I fell for it once and it took me a year and many sleepless nights to live it down.

Rod on March 29, 2010 at 2:19 PM

Not me. Throw me a slow pitch, and I will never miss the opportunity to whack it.

saiga on March 29, 2010 at 2:21 PM

Yeah. Well, unfortunately, I suck at baseball and blogs.

It was something about posting something that would hook a big fish and I was that big, fat fish caught thrashing about at the end of Bishop’s line. God, I break into a sweat even now when I think about it (Hmmm … do fish sweat? I guess so ’cause I am.)

Rod on March 29, 2010 at 2:29 PM

It was something about posting something that would hook a big fish and I was that big, fat fish caught thrashing about at the end of Bishop’s line. God, I break into a sweat even now when I think about it (Hmmm … do fish sweat? I guess so ’cause I am.)

Rod on March 29, 2010 at 2:29 PM

Yea, I know. I do it on the Huffington post sometimes.

saiga on March 29, 2010 at 2:31 PM

The complete lack of social justice has been an impediment to American society for too long.

Bishop on March 29, 2010 at 1:52 PM

that’s a joke right?

HondaV65 on March 29, 2010 at 2:28 PM

Be careful, Honda. You’re gonna get hooked. Let me tell you, it’s awful.

Rod on March 29, 2010 at 2:31 PM

I have worked in the inner city. The welfare state kills hope, opportunity, motivation, and gumption. People move up out of the inner cities every day, and welfare isn’t what does it. Welfare is what restricts it. Effort is what does it.

saiga on March 29, 2010 at 2:19 PM

Free Market, Free People.

visions on March 29, 2010 at 2:32 PM

The complete lack of social justice has been an impediment to American society for too long.

Bishop on March 29, 2010 at 1:52 PM

That, and having Presidents whose NCAA tournament picks failed to crack the 95th percentile on ESPN. “Pretty badass,” was how one sycophant described it.

ya2daup on March 29, 2010 at 2:35 PM

Rod on March 29, 2010 at 2:31 PM

Wait for it… waaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiiiitttt for it…

ya2daup on March 29, 2010 at 2:36 PM

Sadly, Dems cannot legislate economic reality.

BuckeyeSam on March 29, 2010 at 2:15 PM

That’s exactly the point I hope everybody takes away from this whole ordeal. Although Hayek couched it in fairly dense philosophical terms, the concept is actually quite simple:

Nobody can legislate economic reality. Nobody. It is an impossibility.

russcote on March 29, 2010 at 2:37 PM

As Jim Geraghty says, every promise from Obama comes with an expiration date.

Too bad they don’t come with an antidote.

ANYONE who didn’t see this coming is truly too stupid to vote.

CantCureStupid on March 29, 2010 at 2:37 PM

During the New Deal FDR made deals with the largest industrial companies at the expense of small to medium companies. It wasn’t just the economy that caused the 20 or so American auto companies which existed in the 20s, to reduce doewn to 6 or 7 (the Big 3, Nash, Studebaker, Packard, Willys). It was the New Deal’s and the Reconstruction Finance Corp’s marriages with the largest auto companies. This is happening again. Expect no more than 10 Health insurers to survive Obamacare.

xkaydet65 on March 29, 2010 at 2:20 PM

Excellent point. Look at Europe and Japan. Business there is dominated by a few meag-corporations that have been around forever. It’s how the socialist economy operates.

Can anyone point to an Apple, or facebook or Amazon.com or ebay or google or that has come out of Europe or Canada? I can think of Skype but that’s about it.

There is no innovation there because there is no entrepreneurship to speak of. In every sector there is an oligopoly that works hand in hand with the government to crush any hint of competition from new companies. There is no guy in a garage in Munich working on the next killer app because he would have no way to sell it.

This is exactly where we’re headed as well. Not just with insurance, but in every sector.

angryed on March 29, 2010 at 2:38 PM

Related parody: New Line of Insurance Offered to Cover Risks of Loss Under Democrats’ Health Care Proposals http://optoons.blogspot.com/2009/10/new-line-of-insurance-offered-to-cover.html

Mervis Winter on March 29, 2010 at 2:39 PM

Williams also expressed disappointment in the demonization of insurers during the ObamaCare debate. Aetna employs over 35,000 people in that industry, and they certainly don’t see themselves as villains. Although he doesn’t mention it, Williams had to have found himself a bit nonplussed over all the hyperbole about industry profiteering, too, with the health-insurance industry’s average of two to six points of annual margin.

You don’t like it? Defend youselves then. These businesses go crazy when it comes to defending huge bonuses for failing Wall Street executives, but they never open their mouths when their entire business and character is being assassinated by the President.

Or maybe they are keeping so quiet because they want the smaller insurers to fail? Let Obama do their dirty work while naively thinking they will be spared?

Aside from the Chamber of Commerce, whose voice is financed directly by small businesses, I never hear or see any representation of business publicly taking on Obama. All I hear are rumors about “rumblings” about how Obama isn’t as friendly as they thought he would be.

Daemonocracy on March 29, 2010 at 2:41 PM

An Ass masquerading as a President found a Doctor’s white lab coat which had been left out in the sun to dry. He put it on and spoke to his countrymen. All bowed, both men and women, and he was a proud Ass that day. In his delight he lifted up his voice and brayed incoherently and then every one knew him for what he really was.

Cheshire Cat on March 29, 2010 at 2:42 PM

Expect no more than 10 Health insurers to survive Obamacare.

xkaydet65 on March 29, 2010 at 2:20 PM

Or less. How about “0”? Isn’t this exactly what their stated goal is? To usher in a government operated “single payer” system?

Rod on March 29, 2010 at 2:42 PM

Oh Mr. Williams, you have some ‘splainin to do

Guess who donated $4600 to Chris Dodd, the architect of ObamaCare??

What was that saying Forest Gump had…stupid is as stupid does.

angryed on March 29, 2010 at 2:45 PM

Remember what Our GREAT Senator from PA said last year?

In a free society, if people absolutely insist on not being covered, that’s ultimately going to be their choice.”
Arlen Specter – 8/13/09

Focus on the key words – “In a free society.”

The agenda is clear – “The time for talk is over!”

Oopsdaisy on March 29, 2010 at 2:48 PM

If higher rates mean that social justice will finally become a reality, then I’m all for it. The complete lack of social justice has been an impediment to American society for too long.

Bishop on March 29, 2010 at 1:52 PM

Um, how exactly are we socially unjust? One should have what one earns, not what someone else earns. Period full stop.

dogsoldier on March 29, 2010 at 2:55 PM

Nobody can legislate economic reality. Nobody. It is an impossibility.

russcote on March 29, 2010 at 2:37 PM

Neither can the Carny-in-Chief and the Sideshow Congress con the economy into performing well.

With the aid of the Dancing Bear media, they conned Americans into voting an unqualified, worthless buffoon into the White House.

Buy Chicago thug tactics, lies and the race card will not persuade the economy to perform better.

Chicago could always wrestle money out of Springfield, to cover all of the thieving that went on by Daley and hacks like Obama.

Where does Washington go, hat in hand, to cover its finances related to Obama’s Chicago-style incompetence and corruption?

NoDonkey on March 29, 2010 at 2:58 PM

Say, how does the insurance compan profit margins compare with those of…..lifetime politicians and Presidents?

Not to mentions VP’s who prostitute themselves for Faux climate science.

Don L on March 29, 2010 at 3:09 PM

It would have been a better message to say, we’re going to make certain you maintain your eligibility.

Yes, but it doesn’t make for as nice a soundbite on the MSM.

vcferlita on March 29, 2010 at 3:10 PM

There is no guy in a garage in Munich working on the next killer app because he would have no way to sell it.

This is exactly where we’re headed as well. Not just with insurance, but in every sector.

angryed on March 29, 2010 at 2:38 PM

There’s an astounding amount of ingenuity in the world of software that never nets the creator(s) one dime. But your main point still stands, oligopolies stifle for-profit innovation and that is a major blow.

Dark-Star on March 29, 2010 at 3:18 PM

That brings us to Williams’ assessment of the industry after ObamaCare. One reason that people may have fewer choices in health insurance — and why they may lose their doctor or plan — is because smaller insurers won’t survive. The new mandates and the expenses incurred by insurers that didn’t plan for them will swamp them in a sea of red ink. Williams sees these insurers with their boutique plans as endangered species, who will either get swallowed whole by larger companies and their plans discontinued, or will succumb to bankruptcy and fail outright.

It’s what fascists do. Trust me when I tell you there will never be socialized medicine in this country. The economic fascist prefers to leave some semblance of a “free market” in place, because when it all goes horribly wrong, the ruling class will have the “free market” to blame. That “covering the govt’s butt” option is not available in a socialized system, you see? Plus, they need all that sweet, sweet corporate money to fill their campaign coffers.

Think “Too Big To Fail.”

Rae on March 29, 2010 at 3:19 PM

What are they biting on?
ya2daup on March 29, 2010 at 2:07 PM

Red Devils and Fat Heads.

Bishop on March 29, 2010 at 3:40 PM

Um, how exactly are we socially unjust? One should have what one earns, not what someone else earns. Period full stop.
dogsoldier on March 29, 2010 at 2:55 PM

America is socially unjust in that we have not incorporated social justice into our society. Why can you people not see that?

Bishop on March 29, 2010 at 3:41 PM

Wouldn’t it be cheaper to just cancel my policy now and sign up if/when I’m admitted to the hosptital?

TN Mom on March 29, 2010 at 2:11 PM

Not yet. The guaranteed issue part of the law (where the insurer has to accept your application, no matter how bad your health) doesn’t kick in for a few years yet. So if you cancel your policy today and get diagnosed with cancer tomorrow, you’re out of luck (unless it’s a very slow growing cancer and can wait a few years for treatment — and that’s assuming you’ll be able to find a doctor to take you in a few years, which is a risky assumption given what’s coming).

But good news! The significantly higher health insurance premiums are going to start within the next year. That’s one of those great “benefits” you won’t have to wait years for — along with the Medicare cuts, and the higher state taxes due to billions of dollars in Medicaid expenses being shifted to the states.

Enjoy! And don’t forget to thank a Democrat.

AZCoyote on March 29, 2010 at 3:41 PM

I have Aetna! GULP!!!!

capejasmine on March 29, 2010 at 3:44 PM

Social Justice it getting what you diserve, not getting what others have earned that truly diserve it. People with bad luck are one thing, and thy should get help.
saiga on March 29, 2010 at 2:15 PM

Deserving and not deserving serves no interest in society except those who are undeserving and unwilling to share their good luck. The sharing of “luck” is socially justifiable if it means more people have good luck.

Bishop on March 29, 2010 at 3:46 PM

Guess Williams actually read the bill. Something no demoncrat has done.

faol on March 29, 2010 at 3:57 PM

Well, duh…these companies are going to make as much money as they possibly can while they still can.

Dr. ZhivBlago on March 29, 2010 at 3:59 PM

From todays “Best of the Web” Wall Street Journal.

The Montreal Gazette reports from a “thinkers’ conference” held by Canada’s opposition Liberal Party:

In a morning session on health care the conference was told that Canadians and their governments must face up to some hard facts and have “an adult conversation” about the future of the country’s health care system.

The advice came from David Dodge, the past governor of the Bank of Canada and former deputy finance minister who said medicare costs will inevitably rise in coming years at a greater rate than government revenues and the country’s gross domestic product, and require some unpalatable choices to be made.

Choices he suggested include new taxes specifically dedicated for health care or a steady reduction in the scope and quality of services provided by the public health system that would require people to either pay for private care themselves or suffer ever greater wait times for service in the public system.

“These are stark and unpalatable choices that we face with respect to health care, but there is no magic solution,” he said. “We absolutely must have an adult debate about how we deal with this. Finding solutions in this area is extraordinarily difficult, but it is imperative.”

Vince on March 29, 2010 at 4:06 PM

I shared an office building with AETNA years ago. They had maybe 80,000 insured they processed out of the office. They also handled Medicare for some states elsewhere. AETNA often manages self insured plans. The employer actually pays for services and AETNA processes the claims. I can’t waite until we have gubment controlled restaurants. They will know better what we need to eat than we do.

seven on March 29, 2010 at 4:17 PM

Williams also expressed disappointment in the demonization of insurers during the ObamaCare debate. Aetna employs over 35,000 people in that industry, and they certainly don’t see themselves as villains. Although he doesn’t mention it, Williams had to have found himself a bit nonplussed over all the hyperbole about industry profiteering, too, with the health-insurance industry’s average of two to six points of annual margin.

This morning I heard a commercial on behalf of Brad Ellsworth here in Indiana. The message was that Ellsworth stood up to the insurance companies. I might be mistaken, but I think people trust Blue Cross and Blue Shield and companies like that more than they trust turn coat blue dogs right now.

Terrye on March 29, 2010 at 4:27 PM

“Or maybe they are keeping so quiet because they want the smaller insurers to fail? Let Obama do their dirty work while naively thinking they will be spared?”

“Rent Seeking”

ebrown2 on March 29, 2010 at 4:30 PM

I am sure Henry Waxman is contemplating how Aetna’s claims are felony interference of inter state commerce and we must have Congressional hearings/witchhunts.
Waxman must be nauseated when Aetna releases more truth than the lefties can digest at one time.

seven on March 29, 2010 at 4:40 PM

Why weren’t the Aetna’s of the world telling the American people this BEFORE ObamaCare passed?

Did their lobbyists really not know what was going on behind closed Dem doors? Or are they content to profit from a short-term boom while the uninsured are “mandated” to buy insurance while smaller insurers companies go out of business, then just disappear when the Gubmint takes over?

Steve Z on March 29, 2010 at 6:11 PM

Williams also expressed disappointment in the demonization of insurers during the ObamaCare debate

I know two people who work for aetna and this guy has been attached to the hip to barry for a few years. He all but told his employees to vote for barry. Reap what you have sown, dirtbag.

peacenprosperity on March 29, 2010 at 6:27 PM

“See, I told you capitalism doesn’t work! Now, to the new Constitution that is 5,000 pages and written behind our closed doors…

… In order to see what’s in it, we have to pass it first. And if you’re wondering why I am wearing this uniform, well don’t worry, it’s just a little something Michelle likes me to do.” – Barack Hussein Obowma, 2012.

“If you like your old Constitution, you can keep your old Constitution”
Obowmao, 2012

M-14 2go on March 29, 2010 at 6:45 PM

Still waiting for the news to cover the 20 times Obama said premiums would go down $2500 for the average family under his presidency……

Yakko77 on March 29, 2010 at 7:32 PM

I worked for Aetna (but we were New York Life managed care when I started) during HillaryCare, my first real job that actually paid nicely (and my last!). I knew this day would come, but I didn’t think it would be so fast.

I am using graduate school to make every paper about how we are destroying healthcare delivery system. I scare myself doing my homework.

margategop517 on March 29, 2010 at 11:42 PM

When do we get our $2500 washer and dryer that Obama promised?

TN Mom on March 29, 2010 at 2:19 PM

leftnomore on March 30, 2010 at 1:50 AM