4 Ways Insurers Can Turn ‘Embarrassment of Profits’ into Solutions that Matter

October 8, 2020  |  Continuing Medical Education, COVID-19

Originally Published on Managed Healthcare Executive.

By Mary Ellen Beliveau

Even as many industries continue to suffer devastating setbacks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, one sector that has enjoyed an “embarrassment of profits” is health insurance. UnitedHealth Group, Anthem, and Cigna all recorded over $1 billion in profits in the second quarter fueled by unprecedented deferrals of elective surgeries and routine care, resulting in fewer claims being paid.

In sum, the revenue insurers have incurred during COVID-19 has far surpassed the costs they have avoided. These eye-popping profits led house lawmakers in August to declare they would launch an investigation into insurers’ business practices, and has cast an extremely unfavorable light on insurers at a time when their support for hospitals and healthcare systems is critical.

Providers have seen their revenues plummet, pushing some to the brink of bankruptcy, particularly in rural areas, while others have accelerated their efforts to merge with partners in order to survive the pandemic.

At a time when millions have become infected with COVID-19, and hospitals and healthcare systems are undergoing one of the greatest challenges they have ever experienced, insurers are in danger of being viewed through the same unflattering lens as big tobacco or pharma. Indeed, the tragedy of the pandemic has caused many insurers to evaluate what their roles should be right now. But rather than focusing primarily on counteracting public perception, insurers ought to identify areas where they can meaningfully improve their outcomes and demonstrate considerable value to providers, employers, and members.

Read the full article on Managed Healthcare Executive.

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