Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Mask Comes Off

I never saw the Mission Impossible movie, but I think there's a scene where a character pulls off their face and turns out to be Tom Cruise. In a move that can only be compared to finding out that your companion is a monster a la Tom Cruise, or maybe that sweet Bathilda Bagshot is really Nagini, health insurance companies are finally admitting that they are not primarily involved in healthcare at all. Here's an excerpt from an LA Times article:
Federal banking regulators insisted on classifying WellPoint as a healthcare company. And that was interfering with its efforts to open a bank.

The Federal Reserve Board eventually agreed that the company's core insurance business could be considered financial services. But what about its mail-order pharmacy and its program for managing chronic diseases, which was overseen by WellPoint doctors and nurses? Wasn't that healthcare?

WellPoint finally convinced the Fed that those activities were merely "complementary" to its main business -- financial services. It pledged to limit them to less than 5% of total revenue...

"We want the customer to be empowered," Rowan said.

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