Caroline's Feed
Oct 30, 2014

Cigna says Obamacare business losses on the decline

Oct 30 (Reuters) – Cigna Corp. said on Thursday that
financial losses from the new Obamacare health insurance eased
in the third quarter, becoming the second insurer this week to
say that business was improving.

The U.S. Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare,
created national exchanges that sell health plans to individuals
regardless of age or health. Previously, individual plans could
deny coverage to people and charge more based on age, health or
gender.

Oct 30, 2014

Insurers have big plans for 2015 Obamacare enrollment

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – U.S. insurers planning to sell 2015 Obamacare health plans expect at least 20 percent growth in customers and in some states anticipate more than doubling sign-ups.

In interviews with Reuters, half a dozen privately held and non-profit health insurers around the country say they are expecting this growth based on interest from potential customers they are hearing about through their call centers, sales forces and brokers.

Oct 29, 2014

WellPoint beats Wall St. forecast as medical costs stay low

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – U.S. health insurer WellPoint Inc (WLP.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) on Wednesday reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit as its medical costs stayed low, and it forecast continued earnings growth in 2015.

Investors are closely watching third-quarter medical cost trends for indications that years of restrained spending on care have begun to end. Some hospitals have said customers are having more procedures because of a turn in the economy, while others have cited new insurance and Medicaid plans offered under President Barack Obama’s national healthcare reform law.

Oct 28, 2014

Aetna sees higher medical cost spending than expected

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – Aetna Inc (AET.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), the third-largest U.S. health insurer, said on Tuesday it expects 2014 medical costs to increase at the high end of its forecasts, underpinning investor concerns that years of stabilized medical use could be ending.

Shares in Aetna fell 2.2 percent and others insurers including UnitedHealth Group Inc (UNH.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and WellPoint Inc (WLP.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) also fell.

Oct 22, 2014

Abbott, Mylan back generics deal, tweak terms after tax rule change

By Caroline Humer and Ransdell Pierson

(Reuters) – Abbott Laboratories (ABT.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Mylan Inc (MYL.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said on Wednesday they would go ahead with their $5.3 billion deal in which Mylan will buy part of Abbott’s overseas generics business and set up headquarters in the Netherlands, but they tweaked the terms of the transaction.

The move comes after the U.S. Treasury on Sept. 22 made changes to the corporate tax rules that govern such “inversion” merger deals, in which companies move their operations to countries with lower taxes than the United States. The new rules raise the bar for such tax treatment and make it harder to reap other tax benefits from inversions.

Oct 16, 2014

UnitedHealth says medical use is low and likely to stay that way

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – UnitedHealth Group Inc (UNH.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said on Thursday that patients had used medical services at low rates in the third quarter, easing worries among investors that higher admissions reported by hospitals would cost insurers more than they planned.

UnitedHealth reported a net profit increase that beat Wall Street expectations and described medical use as “restrained.” The portion of premiums that it spent on medical claims fell, including for the division that manages health plans sold on the new Obamacare health exchanges.

Oct 16, 2014

Investors eye third quarter medical use from hospitals, insurers

Oct 16 (Reuters) – Hospitals and insurers are expected to
give their clearest view yet on whether people are having more
surgeries and other medical procedures during the next few weeks
when they report earnings, according to investors who are
closely watching U.S. medical services use.

Investors, who study medical use data as a cue for the right
time to buy hospital stocks and sell insurer stocks, say most
signs indicate the increase in use is primarily due to a onetime
event: the decline in the U.S. of the uninsured population due
to the national healthcare reform law.

Oct 3, 2014

Salix calls off inversion deal amid U.S. government crackdown

NEW YORK, Oct 3 (Reuters) – Salix Pharmaceuticals Ltd
, citing a “changed political environment,” said on
Friday it had scrapped a deal with Italy’s Cosmo Pharmaceuticals
SpA that would have allowed it to shift its tax base
from the United States to Europe.

The deal termination came less than two weeks after the U.S.
Treasury Department took a series of steps to curb “inversion”
deals that let companies avoid U.S. taxes by reincorporating
abroad.

Oct 3, 2014

Medtronic sticks by Covidien deal but will use debt, not cash

By Caroline Humer and Soyoung Kim

(Reuters) – U.S. medical equipment maker Medtronic Inc (MDT.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said it would still buy Covidien Plc (COV.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) but would use $16 billion in debt rather than cash held overseas, reacting to new U.S. Treasury guidelines designed to cut the benefits of such “inversion deals.”

The U.S. government has tried to clamp down on deals in which U.S. companies move their headquarters to Ireland and other low-tax countries. New rules are aimed at making it harder for these companies to avoid paying taxes when they use cash held overseas.

Sep 25, 2014

ValueAct returns to Valeant board, plans to raise stake

Sept 25 (Reuters) – Hedge fund ValueAct Capital said on
Thursday it would return to the board of directors of Valeant
Pharmaceuticals International Inc, which is pursuing a
hostile takeover offer for Allergan Inc, and that it
planned to increase its stake in the company.

Valeant shares rose more than 3 percent.

ValueAct Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Ubben said in a
statement that once he is on the board, he would work with
Valeant on its $53 billion acquisition of Allergan, a deal whose
certainty he has previously questioned.