Sunday, July 13, 2008

Rising Medical Costs

The fight between doctors and insurance companies continues. Five years ago 700,000 physicians and state medical and specialty societies sued the largest health insurers in the country and won multimillion-dollar settlements and changes in how their claims are processed. That settlement is reaching the end of its 5-year term.

Health care costs in America nearly doubled between 2000 and 2007 with lots of finger pointing going on. Insurance company profits continue to climb with Health Group reporting a 12% increase in net income last year, Aetna reported an 8% increase and Human came in with a whopping 71% increase. The CEOs of these companies earned $13 million, $23 million and $10 million.

Doctors point out shrinking reimbursements and a jump in denied claims which are reducing their incomes. One way they've been attempting to correct the situation caught the attention of the Federal Trade Commission which has ruled against them saying they're trying to fix prices.

Meanwhile it's the patients who continue to get caught in the squeeze. Our insurance rates continue to climb, our deductables go up and coverage goes down. And the medical world and insurance industry wonders why there is such growing demand for a single-payer system in America?

And why more people are turning to complementary and alternative medicine?

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