This is only one branch of one insurance company in Maryland, but it does make you wonder if all the “reserves” of all healthcare insurance companies were all added together nationwide, how big of piggy bank would we have? The story states this group sits on 1.7 billion.  There are even laws around that supposedly govern the amount of “reserves” to be on hand to keep a company from being insolvent, but that didn’t help AIG recently and with today’s state of affairs is there any guarantee, maybe ask Wall Street?   The Dow Jones employees were given a wage freeze today.

From a post last year, 3 carriers in the state of Washington found this group of 3 carriers had 2.2 billion and that was in the year 2006 so there might be a good chance the bank roll has increased a bit.  image

Insurers' reserves criticized

Update:  2 consumer groups disputing and want financial information relative to health care insurers in the study finds 2.2 billion in cash surplus...if this is true I don't even want to think about how much California insurers might have.....insurers claim the figures are not correct...BD 

Anyway, just something to ponder and think about if all “reserves” for all health insurance companies across the US were lumped together, how much money just sits there, as it is not operating capital, or dividends paid to stockholders either, but there must be enough of a cushion as Blue Cross had enough to start a Venture Capital firm lately and I don’t see any insurers volunteering any relief funds to perhaps help out some of the charities that were recently hit by the Madoff Ponzi scheme.  I read somewhere too that these funds could be used to help out financially in the case of a world wide bird flu breakout. 

Beware of Geeks Bearing Formulas

Desperate Hospitals – Updated November 21, 2008

I write and read about so many having problems getting their needs met, those who have insurance, not to mention the non insured in this case that exist in growing numbers as well.  Hospitals are going broke and having to put their debt up for auction in some areas as they are not recession proof, they cut employees, cut back on purchases, expansions, and other areas, but the piggy bank never gets tapped.  Does risk management completely run healthcare?  Scary, but it sure looks like this is getting to be the case and it gets stronger every year.  Are there any algorithms around that might give us some transparent information?  Algorithms and Whistleblowers are still two hot words today in healthcare, hotter perhaps than they should be.  BD   

Physicians, health care advocates and government officials in Maryland and Washington, D.C., have long questioned the level of CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield's reserves.

Now Maryland's insurance commissioner will try to get an independent ruling on whether the plan's rainy day fund is more than is necessary for a rainy day. According to its most recent filing with the National Assn. of Insurance Commissioners, the company had nearly $1.7 billion in reserve.

Commissioner Ralph Tyler in December 2008 said his office would issue a request for proposals soliciting an audit of the reserves and hoped to have someone working on the project in early 2009. There is no word on when the audit would be complete.

AMNews: Jan. 5, 2009. Maryland insurance commissioner seeks audit of CareFirst reserves ... American Medical News

Related Reading:

Health Insurance feeling the pinch, well a little pinch

Madoff Scam Hits Harvard Medical School Grants and affiliate Beth Israel Medical Center

Wall Street Greed and Fraud Hits Boston Hospitals and Healthcare - donors bilked out of millions

Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Massachusetts reports $57.6 million profit for the 3rd quarter
BlueCross BlueShield Create New Venture Capital Organization
Health insurers reinvent themselves as money managers – Banks
California regulators to audit health insurers
Blue Cross Blue Shield starts new bank for customers

Insurer's Reserves Criticized
Private health insurance study finds disparity between profits, coverage
The 2 New Hot Words in Healthcare: Algorithms and Whistleblowers
Desperate Hospitals – Updated November 21, 2008
Hospitals Put Patients' Debt Up for Auction


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