Sebelius Summons UnitedHealth, Aetna, WellPoint Over Premium Hikes

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Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is taking a bold move inviting the leaders of health insurance companies to a meeting to discuss why they increase the premium rates when less people afford coverage and more profits are made by the insurance industry. The invitation includes such brass of the health insurance industry such as the CEOs of the UnitedHealth Group Inc., WellPoint Inc., Aetna Inc., Health Care Service Corporation and CIGNA HealthCare Inc. The leaders of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners are invited as well.

The meeting is scheduled to take place on March the 3rd. It will take place at the HHS headquarter. This is the text of the letter Sebelius sent to the CEOs.

Dear ______,

Across the country, health insurance premium increases are impacting American families and business owners, and experts indicate that premiums will continue to rise. In recent weeks, we have learned of premium increases of nearly 40 percent in one state and we know significant premium increases are not isolated incidents. I am concerned about these increases, which make it harder for people to access the health care they need, and eager to hear the justification for these increases and steps we can take to create a more stable system that keeps premium costs down for all Americans.

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To that end, I will be hosting a meeting with insurance company executives and hope you will accept this invitation to join us on Wednesday, March 3 at the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C. at 11:30 AM. Our conversation will benefit from your experience and expertise.

I hope this meeting will provide an opportunity to discuss how health insurance reform can bring down health care costs and fix our broken health insurance system. President Obama has offered a health insurance reform proposal that begins to give middle class families and small business owners the health care security they have been losing over the past 16 years. This plan was informed by our discussions with a wide variety of stakeholders over the past year including representatives from NAIC. Now, as we move forward, we welcome your thoughts and ideas about how reform can ensure all Americans have the stable, secure, affordable health care coverage they need and deserve.

We all share a commitment to fighting fraud in our health care system, driving down health care costs and implementing reforms that will add value to our health care system. I look forward to a productive conversation on these and other issues. Should you have any questions regarding this meeting, please contact my office at (202) 690-7000.

Sincerely,

Kathleen Sebelius
Secretary of Health and Human Services

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