Views on the Occupy Wall Street protests vary depending on which news medium is presenting the issue. Some call the protest a meager gathering of discontented hipsters, while others claim it as a full-fledged revolution that will change the foundation of the nation’s financial industry. Whatever the case may be, the protest continues to generate a great deal of hype and has begun attracting the attention of other industries. The insurance industry, in particular, may be a target as many people see the industry as being at fault for the financial dichotomy currently seen throughout the U.S.
Health insurers have been ramping up rates for coverage this year at break-neck speeds. While federal and state insurance regulators attempt to mitigate the effects of higher rates, the fact remains that many people may not be able to afford coverage in the future. According to a report from Health Care for America, a non-profit organization promoting consumer friendly health care reform, the insurance industry is set to see a record increase in profits this year. The industry’s profits will total around $14 billion by the end of 2011.
The major increase in profits is due, in part, to new legislations that make it easier for insurers to impose rate increases on policyholders. The health insurance industry has an extensive branch of lobbying groups based in Washington D.C. affording companies quick access to federal lawmakers. How much sway these companies hold with lawmakers is a subject of controversy, but there can be no doubt that some laws passed in recent years have favored insurers over consumers.
The Occupy Wall Street movement is growing and many people are beginning to host their own protests in cities throughout the nation. Insurers have, thus far, been able to stay out of the protest’s limelight, but that may soon change as the movement becomes more bold.