Aetna CEO: Premiums Will Double In Some Places Because Of Health Care Reform

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Aetna’s CEO Mark T. Bertolini said the Affordable Care Act will increase health insurance premiums by 100 percent, doubling the price in some markets, according to a Bloomberg report.

Bertolini said at an investor conference Wednesday in New York: “We’ve shared it all with the people in Washington and I think it’s a big concern. We’re going to see some markets go up as much as 100 percent,” according to Bloomberg.

He made similar comments in June after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law. Here’s what I wrote for the June 29 edition of The Hartford Courant:

Half of Americans have health plans that don’t include all the perks mandated by the federal government and called “essential benefits,” Aetna’s Chairman and CEO Mark T. Bertolini said Thursday on CNBC.
    “This bill was not written well, and as a result, we have a number of things that will drive up premiums much more significantly than the average cost of healthcare,” Bertolini said.
    The law requires young, healthy people to pay more for health insurance than they would without the law, Bertolini said. The law broadens age ranges, lumping together larger groups of people and driving up premiums for younger people in order to lower premiums for older people.
    “Until we get other underlying costs out of the system, the near-term effects of this bill will be much higher premiums in 2014 and 2015,” Bertolini said on CNBC.

About Matthew Sturdevant

Full-time staff journalist at The Hartford Courant and magazine freelancer with a master's degree in writing from Dartmouth. My work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, Taiwan News, The Baltimore Sun and many other news sources. My blog has been referenced by Politico.com, the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Georgetown Law Library and a number of organizations in healthcare and business. Sturdevant’s blog is "a well-written wealth of ideas," said The Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism, (businessjournalism.org, May 18, 2011). I have experience writing for newspapers, magazines, Web sites and blogs as well as shooting and editing video. I made regular appearances on news-talk radio and on the NBC affiliate station in Corpus Christi, Texas. I made occasional appearances on the Fox affiliate in Connecticut promoting Hartford Courant articles.

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40 thoughts on “Aetna CEO: Premiums Will Double In Some Places Because Of Health Care Reform

  1. Abraham Florez

    Before anyone sarts screaming about these increased costs, ask yourself; “Did I vote for Obama?” If the answer is “yes,” keep your comments to yourself.

  2. Bill

    Obama promised health care would be less expensive.

    Oh well, at least I get to stay on my current plan and keep my doctor.

    1. Matt

      I’ve already been warned that it will be cheaper for my company to pay the fine than to continue offering health care. I wouldn’t be surprised if you are dropped and forced on a government plan. Best case is your doctor will be forced to take a ton of new patients and your care will go down and premiums up.

  3. DON886

    I did not vote for Obama but certainly this is no surprise. Common sense would tell us Obama was way less than honest about medical costs. I expect much worse fallout from unintended consequences of a bad bill.

  4. claud

    yes the cost will go up because Insurance carriers will no longer be able to rape, piledge and plunder the Federal Government by over charging and billing for un-required care!. There have been numerous stories about the Fed catching and prosecuting Medicare/Medicaid fraud being commited by insurance carriers since President Obama took office. The free ride is over for these folks and they know it.

      1. Paula

        How dare a corporate C.E.O. threaten the public with doubling premiums. Scare the public for it’s profits!! These companies are making billions and will continue to with the insatiable profit motive they operate under!!

        1. DON886

          He did not threaten.He stated facts that their costs will go up and that means they need to charge more. Their profits are not out of line with other corporations.

      2. HERB

        It goes down for the Feds but not the policy holder. Aetna still wants their same profit so they let people go and raise premiums. Wake up Billstein

    1. John

      The vast majority of Medicare/Medicaid fraud is committed by healthcare providers who bill the federal government for services not provided, not by insurance companies. Your argument makes no sense.

      1. DON886

        Obama has convinced everyone insurance companies are all evil and distorted all the facts. His fans believe whatever he says.

  5. Geoffy

    Actually, the liberals WANT their plan to FAIL. That will open the door for what they REALLY WANT – a Single Payer system where the Federal government pays everything.

    And if you think that sounds great, look at how well Europe’s doing !!

    1. Ms Doozer

      Exactly Geoffy. Employers will pass along those premiums to employees (who will instead opt for the govt plan) or stop providing insurance hence the govt plan……..dems forcing socialized medicine yet making you think you will have a choice…Ask people in the UK about socialized medicine- better yet, look at their teeth!

  6. I

    been working in insurance my whole life and recently left a company impacted by the reform. How were they impacted- the reform was going to cost them 600 MILLION a year in PROFIT due to the controlled costs. PROFIT. So much that they left the healthcare market all together and you can’t even imagine how they are making up the deficit. All I’ll say is they’ve again transferred the cost to us.

    take a look at the Aetna CEO’s yearly $$- over 17 million last year. They just gave Ron Williams 72 millions in his last yr on the job- and they want me to believe it was REFORM thats causing rates to rise. I’m not blind.

  7. Brian Bisaillon

    The CEOs are using these scare tactics. They are grossly overpaid and will still be overpaid. Yes costs will go up for some but that is only because the companies are allowed to do that. They will have many more customers than they currently have and that will mean much more money for them. I don’t believe health care should be about profits. It should be about taking care of people and making it affordable to get preventive care before you have an emergency. The insurance companies over charge for everything and that goes right down the line. when we see the CEOs pay decrease then we will know they are being honest with us. Until then you can’t cry poor while making millions.

    1. Matt

      They are not crying poor. They are a for-profit business and with more customers their profits should go up. They have more work to do. He is simply warning us of what’s to come. To him, he doesn’t care about the law. If anything, it will benefit the insurance companies. One thing is for sure, the people that will NOT benefit is the middle class.

  8. pete

    How oh how can this be. Didn’t the MESSIAH promise YOUR PREMIUMS would go down by $2,500/year. Oh he ONLY meant for the ‘RATS who voted for his Obama Care. And did you hear slick Blumenthal and 16 other ‘RATS are calling for the repeal – can you believe what I just said – repeal of tax on medical devices. Why Blumey. Aren’t these the greedy corporations you campaigned against. I say tough. Let these companies lay of thousands and thousands of people and the Republicans should say “Told you so”

    1. Dean

      This news must really be riling up the unions who aggressively supported him and his health care bill….oh wait, they’re exempt.

  9. Rhino1

    The Unions are exempt from Obamacare, but are still going to be paying the higher premiums. And still be sending all their dues to support Obama and his cronies in the future. Many of the trade unions negotiate the cost of insurance plans and it will greatly affect the membership. Also keep in mind the premiums are based on the negotiated rates that the doctors are paid. The doctors need to raise their rates to cover the additional mandated costs that are only reimbursed at 65% by the government run healthcare. Again forcing the rates up. The insurance company makes a profit based on a % of the premiums. If the government pays same as everyone else the doctors could charge less and prmimuns could go down.

  10. colby

    Oh and wait until we add 30 million more people to the health care system that can barely manage the load we have on it now….not only will costs go up but you’ll have to wait for 2- 3 months for critical care like heart surgeries etc. This is precisely why I dont want government getting involved with this stuff because they have demonstrated over and over again that they cant managed things efficiently…dems or republicans….remember the $700 hammers bought by the defense department…..and people who voted for Obama SHUT UP!

  11. septa

    Right with you brother! I was forced out of my good insurance company job at the same time they were hiring new department to review government affordable care regulations. I was unable to transfer to Washington of Chicago where my company was headquartering the new unit. Most of the other people laid off were able to get new goverment jobs if they were able to move at their own expense.

  12. saxon9075

    Some posters here make it sound like an obscenity that Aetna and other insurers make a profit. Hello! they are for profit stock companies. People invest their 401(k)’s in them (wait another great idea!)

    What about the $63/person covered “fee” that is imposed tohelp cover the costs of administration. think of this. If the State of CT has 50,000 employees and they each have one dependent that is $6.3 million more it will cost the state to provide insurance to its employees. and that is in addition to the retirees and inmates covered by the State. (Yes inmates are considered “insured” for the purposes of the health care act.)

    How was this not known. There has been two years to plow through the 2000 pages of legislation. Even moving your lips you should have been through it by now!

  13. Brian Bisaillon

    I understand that they are a for profit company. I think that there should be a cap to the profits that can be made from Health Insurance. I believe it is inherently wrong to have the idea that you are going to make billions off health insurance. It sets up a bad precedent where the company is looking out for share holders first and customers second. Health Care should be provided for all and we pay higher taxes to pay for it. The people that are saying that if you voted for Obama you need to shut up better not be Christians, if so go back and look at the teachings of Jesus. We should be taking care of each other and make sure we are all strong and not just some of us while others suffer.

    1. Bent Over

      shouldn’t there also be a limit on the tax rate that we pay to support healthcare? If the inusrance companies are making 5% profit it would be high, but our tax rate for federal insurance is over 50% of the countries taxes, between local state federal income taxes, and medicare taxes added together.

  14. COLBY

    Brian….what planet do you live on? Certainly the one you live in is somewhere other than earth…..Your theories are rationally self serving….lets go back 200 years….no such thing as insurance for health and a national health care system….was that non christian….its this sense of entitlement that the government must be the savior to all things to all beings….its just not practical. So take your lolipop and head to a place called La La Land!

    1. Bent Over

      I grew up in the 60′s & 70′s healthcare was just begining> you didn’t go to a doctor for a scratch or a cold. IF you didnt have a darn high fever or need stiches you took care of it yourself. You don’t need to go past Johnson to see where the problem started.

  15. Paula

    Colby, what about the sense of entitlement that money can buy all things, including quality health care? A recent immigrant from Vietnam told me that in his country if you are poor and can’t buy healthcare you are left to die! Only those with money are cared for!! Do you recommend a system like that?

    1. Bent Over

      Before everyone had insurance at their companies, people could afford healthcare. The government mandates procedures and care be done that would be considered optional in most countries. I have a friend whose dad needed a bypass at 72 years old in Canada, it was considered too expensive considering his age. He had to come to the US and pay for his procedure, unfortunately he was too weka for the trip. That is exactly where we are headed.

  16. colby

    Paula and your point is….????? Even before Obama care PAULA….when did we egregiously let people die…..are you aware that particularly catholic hospitals dont turn away people…..so your point makes absolutely no sense..I bet I can guess where you fall in the government hand out line….

  17. Mina

    Who didn’t see this coming?

    The great part is when you really need care you wont get it. If you are a fit healthy person, prepare to get in line between people who dont take good care of themselves.I keep trying to tell people, Obamacare is simply transferring money from healthy people to sicker people, even though someof these sicker people (like baby boomers) make more money. It is extremely regressive taxation.

    This is just the beginning. Now doctors will have even less incentive to control prices, and people will have even less incentive to go elsewhere for care (Costa Rica, Thailand, India, etc). Medical tourism is/was becoming more popular, will that popularity continue?

    Dont think for a minute aetna feels bad for increasing your premiums…

    This is nothing but a health insurance bailout, and perhaps also a bailout for Drs. who charge inflated prices.

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