SPOTLIGHT: Top insurers made $12B in profits

Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) alleges that the nation's top five health insurers--UnitedHealth, WellPoint, Aetna, Humana and Cigna--made nearly $12 billion in profits last year, making them more profitable than the top five firms in the energy, construction, aviation, motor vehicle and parts manufacturing industries, The Hill’s Healthwatch reports. Three of the insurers padded their profits by more than $3.5 billion by boosting premiums. Meanwhile, Aetna and WellPoint inflated their profits by $800 million by spending less on medical care. However, AHIP downplayed the report, saying industry profit margins have been generally declining since 2005, adding that the insurers' average profit margins of 4.9 percent are slim compared to pharmaceutical companies (16 percent) and the entire healthcare sector (21 percent). Article