SPOTLIGHT: Massachusetts insurers had $2.6 billion surplus at year-end 2008

The financial health of Massachusetts health insurers is a hot topic as they battle with state regulators over proposed premium rate hikes. The verdict: Massachusetts insurers aren't doing too badly, according to the Study of the Reserves and Surpluses of Health Insurers in Massachusetts from the state Division of Health Care Finance and Policy. At year-end 2008, eight health insurers representing more than 90 percent of Massachusetts' private insurance market and most of its Medicare Advantage and Medigap market had a total statutory surplus (i.e., excess of assets over liabilities) of $2.6 billion over the state-mandated minimums--four times higher than 1999 surplus levels. FierceHealthPayer