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BREAKING: While America’s reeling from the #COVID19 crisis, my old industry - the private health insurance racket - is winning big. The proof? This morning, the nation's biggest insurer UnitedHealth Group, revealed its earnings for the last 3 months. The amount: $5 BILLION. (1/8)
UnitedHealth easily blew away Wall Street's expectations for the first 3 months of 2020. The $5 billion it reported earning over the first 3 months of the year is actually UP 3.4% over the same quarter last year — despite losing almost 1.2 million in health plan membership. (2/8)
The earnings were so good, the company said it still expects to make as much in total profits this year as they predicted in December... when no one could predict the massive loss of life & jobs caused by the coronavirus. In other words, they’re thriving during a pandemic. (3/8)
One way UnitedHealth beat expectations was spending less on medical care. Its medical loss ratio, the measure of how much revenue was used to pay for patient care, declined from 82% to 81%. As a pandemic started raging across the country. (4/8)
Why are claims down? Because elective and non-urgent procedures are being delayed. And patients are putting off any visits to the doctor that aren't essential. Although they are using less care, they are still paying the same amount in premiums. (5/8)
Another eye-popping number: UnitedHealth is now taking in 2.5 times more money from federal & state governments than from its individual & corporate customers - despite serving far fewer people in its public sector (Medicare Advantage & Medicaid) health plans. (6/8)
During the pandemic, UnitedHealth also used $1.7 billion to buy back its own shares - instead of using that money to reduce customers' premiums and out-of-pocket expenses. At the same time, it was making doctors take a 60% pay cut or get thrown out of its provider networks. (7/8)
The bottom line: Americans are getting sick & dying, and doctors risking their lives to save them, in this crisis. Meanwhile, health insurance companies are denying coverage & squeezing doctors to generate record profits. That’s the story of healthcare in America today. (/END.)
Update: Watch my interview with @KatyTurNBC about @UHC and surprise billing:
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