Health plans may profit from scrimping now but will pay later
Posted Aug. 16, 2010
Regarding "Most health plan earnings up, but Wall Street is wary," (link): It was with great amusement that I read the article on the profitable first quarter that the private insurance companies had.
I hope they enjoy it now, because due to higher co-pays and larger deductibles, patients are not being seen at the same rate as they were in 2009. They are also putting off preventive care due to larger co-pays.
In the end, when patients are seen, they are generally sicker or wind up with an emergency department visit and/or hospitalization. In the long run, this will increase the expense and decrease insurers' profits.
Debbie G. Fibel, MD, Lexington, Ky.
Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2010/08/16/edlt0816.htm.