|"OMG ... look at the time! I'm late for|
my morning meeting with my
corporate overlords to rubber-stamp
whatever plans Highmark has for
screwing Delaware customers today!"
First, here is KWS explaining her idea of her job:
DOI exists to regulate the state's insurance market, protect consumers, and ensure that the insurance carriers who operate in our state are able to generate enough income to remain solvent and pay claims when claims come due. It is my duty as the Insurance Commissioner to strike a balance between protecting consumers and ensuring that the insurance companies are able to operate a stable business model. When insurance companies see that Delaware provides a fair and balanced approach to regulating the insurance markets, it attracts and retains good companies that compete for your business.Notice that protecting consumers is NOT a primary mission of her office, as interpreted by KWS--she is to strike a balance between the interests of consumers and insurance companies, because then Delaware attracts and retains good companies that compete for your business.
Really? Then explain, please, Karen, why 93% of the private health insurance market in Delaware belongs to a single company--Highmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield--and why you just forced another company out of the Medicaid market to allow Highmark access to another 230,000 captive customers in that market? (A foonote: Aetna, the company that KWS and others drove out, actually planned far lower rate increases than Highmark.) Where, exactly, is all this competition?
That's what makes this platitude particularly offensive:
What can you do to keep your rates low? The most important thing to do is to shop around and compare prices.Uh, Karen? There is no competition in health insurance in Delaware. Delaware is nationally recognized as having the 4th least competitive health insurance market in the US.
So if that's what we can do to lower costs, then you're a f--king failure. Unless, of course, your definition of success is (as it seems to be) pimping for corporate interests:
How exactly do the insurance companies come up with the rate requests that they submit? The various insurance sectors (life, health, auto, home, etc.) use complex formulas to predict future costs. Insurers consider data from past claims and other state-specific factors, such as state-required minimum levels of coverage, the percentage of uninsured drivers, the likelihood of severe weather that can cause accidents or damage buildings, the state's legal climate, and the level of competition among insurance companies.This is such utter horsecrap that I'm surprised even the News Journal would print it (wait, no I'm not).
Highmark of Delaware's parent company last year recorded $14.9 BILLION in revenues and had a bad year of only racking up a $372 million profit. Still, not bad for an empire supposedly built on non-profit enterprises. Highmark uses a very simple, very traditional formula for calculating next year's rates: whatever the market will bear (which is a LOT when you're a monopoly) and whatever your tame Insurance Commissioner will approve (in this case about 9.9%).
Karen has done such a great job as Insurance Commissioner that, besides having no competition, Delaware has suffered the highest insurance rate increases in the nation under the Affordable Care Act:
For the individual insurance market (plans sold directly to consumers); among the ten states seeing some of the sharpest average increases are: Delaware at 100%, New Hampshire 90%, Indiana 54%, California 53%, Connecticut 45%, Michigan 36%, Florida 37%, Georgia 29%, Kentucky 29%, and Pennsylvania 28%.In Delaware, folks we have exactly the government we deserve and that the corporations paid for:
--An Insurance Commissioner gouging customers as a proxy for corporate interests ...
--A Secretary of Education destroying our schools for corporate interests ...
--DNREC committed to the continued gutting of the Coastal Zone Act for corporate interests ...
--A Department of Homeland Security and Public Safety that spies on law-abiding citizens and shares the information with corporate interests ...
If you're beginning to see a pattern here, you're correct.
Unfortunately, you're too late, because you just voted the bastards back into office again, and they're confident that you'll keep doing so.