To The Editor:

Allison Bells article (“Group Health Rates Still Skyrocketing,” Aug. 19) was interesting, but it surely did not represent what is happening in Florida. She writes of 20% rate increases as if that was the end of the world. Here we consider 20% a gift.

On most of my groups my increases are anywhere from 35% to 78%. Aetna, for example, on group will give the basic medical rates one increase and the Rx rates (which are separate) a much higher increase. The average increase from Aetna in central Florida is 42% and up.

United is a little better; the average we are seeing from them is in the 30%s. CIGNA follows Uniteds lead, and we have no other carriers.

Humana is here but not selling anything. BC/BS is not an insurance company, and their rates are very high.

While I understand she was trying to be objective in her approach, some mention of what specific areas are suffering would have made a much better article.

HMOs in Florida are suffering. In most groups that I have been working with lately, they will not even look at an HMO quote. POS seems to be the plan of choice. Aetna has come out with some new plans that contain lesser benefits, but we have not seen any particular rate relief (maybe that comes with the renewal). United is coming out with new plans and so is Humana, possibly at the first of the year. BC/BS has dropped POS plans and now sells only PPO and HMO with extremely high rates.

Sorry to ramble on, but when I see articles such as this, well, it paints a very “rosy” picture (comparatively) when in fact, the situation is much worse and will not get better.

I have been selling group health insurance for 35 years ever since the “old plans…the base plus.” The industry was stable then and only fell apart with the advent of managed care. Managed care opened the door, and it is amusing that those companies are now trying to figure out why so many came through the door. Managed care has created an entire generation of consumers with an entitlement (womb to tomb) mentality, and now they are wondering what happened.

If there were some way to just dump managed care, go back to the plans of the past that worked, and that also gave the consumer participation in his or her care both financially and personally in the selection of care facilities, you might see a drastic change. This might also encourage many of the carriers who gave up writing health insurance to come back.

Finally, I really believe most consumers are totally unaware insurance is a product for sale, just like shoes, CDs and washing machines.

Insurers are not intentionally nonprofit organizations and were never meant to cover 100% of the risk.

Joan C. Fonte, RHU
Kuykendall Insurance Group

Amen To CRM Column

To The Editor:

Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed reading Ara Tremblys June 24 column on CRMs failure to deliver for insurance companies. His parting statement, “…do the work necessary to make sweeping changes in the way you operate” hits the nail on the head. I wish we could convince more insurance companies to think that way before they invest in CRM technology. The cleanup effort behind a failed CRM effort is much more difficult than if the business processes are redesigned in the first place. Nonetheless the demand for assistance in cleaning up is sending business our way. And the CRM vendors are taking heat from an increasing number of insurance companies.

Rod Travers
Senior Vice President, Technology
Robert E. Nolan Company


Reproduced from National Underwriter Life & Health/Financial Services Edition, October 21, 2002. Copyright 2002 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.