Humana, Inc. (HUM) reported its earnings Monday, and they really love that government money. HUM reports in two segments: government and commercial. The government segment is really profitable: profits up 62.5%, membership up 12%. The increase in profits was the result of the membership increase and the company’s decision last year to charge its Medicare Advantage customers premiums on top of the lovely government subsidy.
Commercial lines didn’t do so well. Pretax earnings were down year over year by 20% in the first half of the year, and enrollment was down in the first half by 5%. This was partly the result of the loss of two large accounts, and partly the general increase in unemployment. It would have been worse but HUM did an acquisition. The much smaller individual policy sector was up 7%. The company has apparently decided to exit the Medicare drug plan. It increased its rates, and saw a huge drop in membership.
We have now seen the second quarter results for five big insurance companies, UnitedHealth, Aetna, Cigna, Wellpoint, and now Humana. All are profitable, all losing customers in their commercial lines, all are trying to raise rates faster than projected increases in medical costs, all are trying to reduce their payout ratios, all are making steady payments to investors, and all are spending money on Congress to destroy any hope of real reform.
I’d just like to ask the Blue Dogs a simple question: do you really think these guys give a rat’s ass about anyone but themselves and their bottom lines? Really?