Well Point and United Healthcare have created their own banks, it was either this or connect with a 3rd party.  I first posted about this last year and you can read the articles under related posts below.  It is still a risk management business by all means though, so this is just another expansion area.  What is offered is a HSA, health savings account, which might be fine for many when the the economy is doing better, but right now those accounts are a strain, however, the insurer’s seem to be making a big profit here.

Best not to ever see these folks on a buy out list from the government. 

The key to making this work is for the consumer to purchase a policy that basically covers nothing for routine healthcare.  In other words a policy with a very high deductible of around 2 or 5k.  What we are talking here is basically hospitalization insurance in case of an emergency, and for the normal routine healthcare issues, you are on your own and save up those receipts.  There are no incentives here to create an awareness for the consumer to take better care of their health with regular visits, so in actuality when promoting better healthcare, these policies offer a step backwards and the consumers go without, until they are in dire need. 

Enrollment in the high deductible plans is up as that is all most can afford these days with rising costs.  You can almost compare this to having car insurance, nothing happens until you have an accident and maintenance and upkeep is on your ticket, except it is a human and not a car, but you sure feel like another commodity at this point.  As this article states, what are we, a consumer or a patient first?  How does this all fall into the charitable contribution to fix healthcare?  What are we doing here, and is there really any focus to fix healthcare?  There’s 75 million available for a solution to neuter dogs and cats without surgery, but only 10 million to fix healthcare with the X-Prize?  Non profits like the Gates Foundation have contributed way more than this to help R and D find solutions.

On another note, the CEO of Aetna spoke up today and stated consumers should be “required” to buy health insurance.  Does anyone have a clue what they are doing or does Aetna not have a bank yet?  When better healthcare becomes the focus versus risk management, perhaps we can find some answers that will make sense. BD 

WellPoint Inc., the nation's largest health insurance company, ran into a snag last year while pursuing an important new  business initiative.

Federal banking regulators insisted on classifying WellPoint as a healthcare company. And that was interfering with its efforts to open a bank.
The Federal Reserve Board eventually agreed that the company's core insurance business could be considered financial services. But what about its mail-order pharmacy and its program for managing chronic diseases, which was overseen by WellPoint doctors and nurses? Wasn't that healthcare?

Insurance companies began remaking themselves as administrators, providing employers with expert help in processing claims and negotiating rates with doctor groups and hospitals. Profit margins on these services are high because the companies can charge fees without assuming the cost of underwriting customers' medical needs.

"They're not consumers, they're patients. And when you're a patient, you're not in a shopping mode. You have other things on your mind.

Related Reading: 

Do You Bank with Blue Cross?

Blue Cross Blue Shield starts new bank for customers

Bank of America, Health Net team on medical-payment venture

X PRIZE FOUNDATION - Build a Better Health Care System 10 Million Dollar Prize

WellPoint settles Calif. lawsuit and Who’s going to China?

Health insurers reinvent themselves as money managers - Los Angeles Times


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