Insurers speed health care overhaul preparations

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The nation’s big insurers are spending millions to carry out President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul even though there’s a chance the law won’t survive Supreme Court scrutiny.

It’s not that health insurance companies want to bet big the court will uphold the Affordable Care Act, but they can’t afford not to. It will take at least several months and lots of resources for insurers to prepare to implement key elements of the law, which includes a controversial requirement that most Americans have health insurance by 2014.

WellPoint Inc., the nation’s second-largest insurer with 34 million members, will spend $100 million this year on technology upgrades to meet the law’s requirements. Aetna Inc., with more than 18 million members, expects to spend $50 million, partly to upgrade software and computers.