As doctors and consumers are forced to put most nonemergency procedures on hold, many health insurers foresee strong profits.
So why is the industry looking to Congress for help?
Insurers say that while that falloff in claims for non-COVID care is offsetting for now many insurers’ costs associated with the pandemic, the future is far more fraught.
Costs could remain modest or quickly outstrip savings. A recession could drive revenue down. Or the coronavirus could resurge next winter and spike treatment expenses.
All that uncertainty for the companies could trigger far higher premiums for consumers, if insurers hedge their bets. Then again, the current savings insurers are seeing — along with cautions from state regulators about pushing cost-sensitive customers away during an economic downturn — might result in minimal premium increases.
“Insurers are nervous, to be sure,” said Mike Kreidler, Washington state’s insurance commissioner. “But so far they are telling