Consumers getting ‘skinned’ by health insurers

The reason health care costs are so high is because Americans don’t have nearly enough “skin in the game.”

That was the phrase that many of my former colleagues in the insurance industry and I began using in the early 2000s as a way to deflect attention away from us.

Americans — especially American employers — looked to private insurers to help control medical costs. But insurers were failing miserably, and some of them — Aetna in particular — were also failing Wall Street.

Thirteen years ago, investors and Wall Street financial analysts were not happy with the way some managed care companies were running their businesses. They felt that Aetna and other big for-profit insurers were spending far too much of their policyholders’ premiums paying claims. And they didn’t like it that insurers hadn’t been aggressive enough in getting rid of  “unprofitable” customers.

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