Friday, January 28, 2011

Seattle Times weighs in on health insurer surpluses

Speaking of our legislation involving large surpluses held by nonprofit health insurers, the Seattle Times just posted an editorial on the topic.

It recounts testimony at Thursday's hearing in a state House of Representatives committee:

The companies testified against any penalty for piling up surplus, raising the specter of earthquakes, epidemics and President Obama's health-care reform. The first two might bite into their holdings, and the third, they said, surely would. They said they need every cent they have.

"How much is enough?" asked Rep. Kevin Van De Wege, D-Sequim.

Their answer was a thing with no defined form — something about consumers needing "strong, muscular companies." Van De Wege asked his question again, and again received vapor.

Kreidler re: health insurer surpluses: "How much is enough?"

On Wednesday and Thursday, Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler testified in front of Senate and House committees about his proposal to limit further contributions to non-profit health insurers' already-large surpluses.

Here's an excerpt from the Senate hearing: