Caroline's Feed
Mar 30, 2015

UnitedHealth-Catamaran deal sets up healthcare M&A chessboard

NEW YORK (Reuters) – UnitedHealth Group Inc’s (UNH.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) planned takeover of No. 4 U.S. pharmacy benefits provider Catamaran Corp (CCT.TO: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) will give the companies added heft in price talks with drug companies, serving as a catalyst for deals allowing other insurers to bulk up.

The $12.8 billion deal comes at a time when Wall Street has been parsing the possibilities that top insurers like Aetna Inc (AET.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) with Cigna Corp (CI.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) could pair up. Smaller companies like Health Net Inc (HNT.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) , Molina Healthcare Inc (MOL.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) or WellCare Health Plans Inc (WCG.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) are also increasingly seen as takeover targets.

Mar 26, 2015

U.S. House okays bipartisan bill to fix Medicare doctor payments

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday overwhelmingly approved a bill to permanently repair the formula for reimbursing Medicare physicians, marking a rare bipartisan achievement and sending the issue next to the Senate.

The measure drafted and driven forward by Republican House Speaker John Boehner and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi would fix a long-standing problem with how Medicare pays doctors. It would also make adjustments to the health program for seniors.

Mar 24, 2015

Humana says previously disclosed DOJ query involves other companies

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Humana Inc, one of the largest
U.S. providers of Medicare Advantage healthcare plans for older
people, said on Tuesday that it believes a previously disclosed
government query for information is part of a wider review
involving many healthcare companies.

Humana first said the U.S. Department of Justice had asked
it to volunteer information about risk adjustment matters on
Feb. 18.

Mar 11, 2015

Exclusive: CVS says biotech drug copies may bring price cuts of 40-50 percent

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The entry of copycat biotech drugs into the U.S. market could cut prices of expensive medications by 40 percent to 50 percent, depending on the level of competition among drugmakers, a top executive at CVS Health Corp told Reuters.

CVS is one of the largest U.S. pharmacy benefit managers and, along with rival Express Scripts, has put unprecedented pressure on global pharmaceutical makers to lower prices for its clients.

Mar 4, 2015

U.S. hospitals optimistic they’ll dodge bullet with Obamacare ruling

NEW YORK, March 4 (Reuters) – U.S. hospital executives said
on Wednesday they were optimistic they will avoid the toughest
consequences of a Supreme Court decision on whether millions of
Americans can continue to purchase subsidized health benefits
under Obamacare.

The high court heard oral arguments in the case challenging
the federal tax credits that help residents in at least 34
states afford medical benefits under President Barack Obama’s
healthcare law.

Mar 2, 2015

Cardinal to buy J&J vascular technology unit Cordis for $1.9 billion

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. pharmaceutical and medical equipment maker Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said on Monday it agreed to sell its Cordis vascular technology unit to Cardinal Health (CAH.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) for $1.9 billion, completing its exit from the cardiovascular stent business.

Cardinal, one of the largest U.S. drug distribution companies, is expanding its medical equipment offerings for physicians.

Feb 25, 2015

Anthem says hack may affect more than 8.8 million other BCBS members

NEW YORK, Feb 24 (Reuters) – Health insurer Anthem Inc
, which earlier this month reported that it was hit by a
massive cyberbreach, said on Tuesday that 8.8 million to 18.8
million people who were members of other Blue Cross Blue Shield
plans could be victims in the attack.

Anthem, the second-largest U.S. health insurer, is part of a
national network of independently run Blue Cross Blue Shield
plans through which BCBS customers can receive medical services
when they are in an area where BCBS is operated by a different
company.

Feb 24, 2015

Anthem says at least 8.8 million non-customers could be victims in data hack

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – Health insurer Anthem Inc, which earlier this month reported that it was hit by a massive cyberbreach, said on Tuesday that 8.8 million to 18.8 million people who were not its customers could be victims in the attack.

Anthem, the country’s second-largest health insurer, is part of a national network of independently run Blue Cross Blue Shield plans through which BCBS customers can receive medical services when they are in an area where BCBS is operated by a different company.

Feb 20, 2015

U.S. proposes 0.9 percent cut in 2016 Medicare Advantage payments

Feb 20 (Reuters) – The U.S. government on Friday proposed a
0.9 percent cut in payments to health insurers for 2016 Medicare
Advantage plans, which provide health benefits to more than 16
million elderly or disabled people.

When combined with other factors such as medical coding
adjustments by insurers, the payments could increase insurer
revenue by 1.1 percent, according to documents released by a
division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Feb 18, 2015

Actavis to take Allergan name, reflecting brand-drug focus

NEW YORK, Feb 18 (Reuters) – Actavis Plc, a generic
drugmaker that has been steadily acquiring branded medicines,
said it will change its name to Allergan Inc after it completes
its planned $66 billion purchase of the Botox maker, signaling
its growing focus on patent-protected drugs.

Allergan’s medicine chest is chock full of branded drugs,
which command far higher prices than generics. They include
Botox, a $2.3 billion-a-year anti-wrinkle drug also used to
treat migraine headaches and other ailments. The company also
has a leading portfolio of eye treatments, facial fillers and
medical devices.