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The Nerve!

February 24, 2010

Not satisfied with record-breaking profits of $12.5 billion last year – a whooping 56 percent spike from 2008 – the nation’s five largest insurance companies have the audacity to raise their premiums on thousands of families who are still struggling in these tough economic times. One California insurer, Anthem Blue Cross, has threatened to increase premiums by up to 39 percent this year. It made an enormous profit of $4.7 billion in 2009.

As U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein puts it, these insurers “have gotten very greedy.”

She’s right. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), these companies raked in profits of 250 percent between 2000 and 2009. Now they want even larger premium hikes: 56 percent in Michigan, 24 percent in Connecticut, 23 percent in Maine, 20 percent in Oregon, and 16 percent in Rhode island.

These are “disturbing examples of the problems that make reforming our health insurance system more important than ever,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius points out. “Thousands of struggling families are left with an unpleasant choice between fewer benefits, higher insurance rates, or having no insurance at all.”

It’s time to pass real health care reform and stop health insurance premiums from soaring even higher.

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