UnitedHealthCare CEO – “Our Shareholders Will Prosper”
Posted Aug 06 2009 10:34pm
Insuring patients is making up less than half of the company’s earnings today, and in recent posts I too have asked the question, “is this a health insurance company or a technology company”; a health insurance company doing technology as a sideline, or a technology company doing health insurance as a side line. With more than half of the company earnings coming from outside the insuring portion of the business it is beginning to sound like the latter is true.
Some of their technologies are managing benefits for employers with complicated proprietary business intelligence algorithms, administering Medicare and Medicaid programs and other types of data services through Ingenix, a subsidiary of UnitedHealthCare.
They make money from other insurance companies too as in the Ingenix Data base that other companies subscribed to use and was demolished by the New York Attorney General for being corrupt on not calculating the correct and out of network charges, which resulted in many patients getting over inflated medical bills.
The State of Washington just gave Ingenix a 19 million dollar 5 year contract to help them fight fraud, again using proprietary algorithms to detect and deter Medicaid fraud and hopes to use this as a national model. Here we go once more, it’s not about healthcare at all, it’s about the money and the shareholders. As mentioned in this article, the company is entangled in almost every area of healthcare, besides just insuring people so perhaps they are setting up to be a technology company to shift the focus in case they lose the battle and a government plan is created. Personally I like to see balance with all technology and not one entity having a lion’s share, otherwise we lose balance. BD
Stephen Hemsley, the CEO of UnitedHealth, is not intimidated. "Leading companies take advantage of disruptive change in the marketplace," he told reporters recently. "Our shareholders will prosper."
"This raises the question: What is their role in the new system?" Scandrett said.
There's a reason they've made Washington their second home. As Congress grapples with a sweeping overhaul of American health care, private insurers such as Minnetonka-based UnitedHealth are scrambling to present themselves as part of the solution, not the problem.
If they succeed, insurance companies could earn an even bigger role in shaping the way Americans get medical care and pay for it. If they fail, they could find themselves elbowed aside as players in the nation's health care system.
Today, actually insuring health risk makes up less than half of UnitedHealth's earnings, $3 billion last year. The rest comes from managing benefits for large employers, administering public programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, and selling various technology and data services. With a grip on almost every aspect of health care, UnitedHealth and a handful of other big insurers have become juggernauts -- simultaneously loved by Wall Street and despised by critics who see them as unnecessary middlemen.