Caroline's Feed
Apr 11, 2014

Texas Medicaid holds off on proposed limits for Gilead hepatitis drug

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – Texas is reconsidering whether to impose strict limits on Gilead Sciences’ $84,000 hepatitis C treatment for patients on the state’s Medicaid health plan for the poor, at the urging of outside advisers, a state official said on Friday.

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission, which oversees Medicaid, had proposed a policy to allow the drug, Sovaldi, to be used mainly for sicker patients, such as those whose hepatitis C had developed into advanced liver disease, according to state documents reviewed by Reuters.

Apr 8, 2014

U.S. insurers still expect cuts in 2015 Medicare payments

April 8 (Reuters) – U.S. health insurers said on Tuesday
they still expected cuts in government reimbursements for
privately managed Medicare health plans for the elderly next
year even after the Obama administration rolled back the
steepest reductions.

The government agency that oversees Medicare said late on
Monday that on average, reimbursements to insurers for private
Medicare plans would rise 0.4 percent, reversing what it said
was a proposed cut of 1.9 percent.

Apr 7, 2014

U.S. government rolls back proposed Medicare Advantage cut

By Caroline Humer and David Morgan

(Reuters) – The Obama administration on Monday rolled back some of the more controversial cuts proposed for privately managed Medicare health plans used by the elderly following pressure from insurance companies and lawmakers.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said that on average, reimbursement for such Medicare Advantage plans in 2015 would rise 0.4 percent, reversing what is said was a 1.9 percent average reduction proposed in February.

Apr 2, 2014

Healthcare players see more changes coming to Obamacare

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Some of the key players rolling out Obamacare to the American public say their work on the program is just beginning, as the real-world effect of the law throws up new questions and problems.

More than 7 million people signed up for new health coverage under President Barack Obama’s healthcare law for 2014, the first year in which its main provisions took effect. Obama celebrated the enrollment milestone on Tuesday as a victory for the program which has faced relentless opposition from the Republican Party and major technical hurdles.

Apr 1, 2014

U.S. insurers fear backlash over new Obamacare rate increases

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As the first Obamacare enrollment period comes to a close, U.S. insurers are already anticipating the need to raise prices for 2015 and fear that it will put them at the center of the political blame game over President Barack Obama’s healthcare law.

The Obama administration was poised on Tuesday to declare victory over signing up more than 7 million people for this year, overcoming technology failures that stymied enrollment in the program’s early weeks and Republican efforts to discredit it in the eyes of consumers.

Apr 1, 2014

Cigna says signed up 75,000-100,000 for Obamacare

WASHINGTON, April 1 (Reuters) – Cigna Corp has
enrolled between 75,000 and 100,000 people in Obamacare health
plans during the first three months of enrollment, Chief
Executive Officer David Cordani said on Tuesday at the Reuters
Health Summit.

Of those, about two-thirds signed up through the public
exchanges created as part of U.S. President Barack Obama’s
healthcare reform law, often called Obamacare, Cordani said on
the day after the enrollment period for these plans ended. The
rest signed up directly with Cigna.

Mar 27, 2014

Faulty state Obamacare exchanges weigh joining HealthCare.gov

March 27 (Reuters) – A few U.S. states whose newly created
Obamacare insurance exchanges were stalled by technology
failures may join the federal government’s HealthCare.gov
marketplace for next year, while only two states that relied on
the administration plan to go it alone.

Exchange officials in Oregon, Maryland and Massachusetts are
weighing whether to enlist new private technology contractors or
to turn to the federal government after faulty exchanges slowed
enrollment in their states to the lowest rates in the country.

Mar 21, 2014

Insurers see double-digit Obamacare price rises in many states next year

By David Morgan and Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – U.S. consumers eligible for Obamacare health plans could see double-digit price hikes next year in states that fail to draw large numbers of enrollees for 2014, including some states that have been hostile to the healthcare law, according to insurance industry officials and analysts.

The early estimates come as insurance companies set out to design plans they intend to sell in 2015 through the state-based health insurance marketplaces that are a centerpiece of the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement that is widely referred to as Obamacare.

Mar 21, 2014

Health insurer WellPoint raises full-year earnings forecast

March 21 (Reuters) – WellPoint Inc, the United
States’ second largest insurer, on Friday raised its 2014
earnings forecast closer to analysts’ expectations and said it
expected to add 1 million to 1.3 million members by the end of
the year.

WellPoint, which operates Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in 14
states, said it now expects net income of more than $8.20 per
share, up from more than $8.00.

Mar 11, 2014

Insurers wary of Obamacare unknowns as they plan for 2015

NEW YORK, March 11 (Reuters) – U.S. health insurers are
struggling to set prices for their Obamacare plans in 2015 and
decide which regions to return to before the deadlines for
submitting those plans to regulators.

Some insurers already expect to lose money this year
following the rocky launch of President Barack Obama’s
Affordable Care Act, which aims to provide coverage to millions
of uninsured Americans with the help of government subsidies.
The rollout was marred by technical errors that held up early
enrollment, last-minute regulatory changes and steady political
opposition from Republicans.