Caroline's Feed
Jul 31, 2013

Humana profit rises on growth in retail, employer units

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – Health insurer Humana Inc said on Wednesday that its second-quarter profit rose 18 percent, helped by low medical costs and growth in both its direct-to-customer division and employer-based insurance unit.

Chief Executive Officer Bruce Broussard said while government cutbacks to private Medicare plans for the elderly planned for 2014 were ‘onerous’, he still anticipates growth in sales of these plans directly to individuals.

Jul 31, 2013

Florida, Georgia say insurance rates to spike under Obamacare

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – Florida and Georgia, two states where politicians oppose U.S. President Barack Obama’s healthcare law, said on Tuesday that insurance rates for individuals would rise sharply in 2014 under the reform.

The remarks are part of an increasingly polarized debate over whether “Obamacare” will prove affordable for millions of uninsured Americans when new health plans become available on state-based exchanges as of October 1.

Jul 30, 2013

Aetna profit rises as medical costs stay low

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – U.S. health insurer Aetna Inc reported higher quarterly profits on Tuesday as medical costs in its employer-based and commercial business remained low and it closed on its acquisition of Coventry Health Care.

Aetna Chief Executive Mark Bertolini said he was “increasingly confident” the company would have higher operating earnings in 2014, but warned that Aetna expects lower growth in private Medicare, where the government has cut spending.

Jul 30, 2013

Community Health to buy Health Management for $3.9 billion

By Susan Kelly and Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – U.S. hospital chain Community Health Systems Inc (CYH.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said on Tuesday it would buy smaller Health Management Associates Inc (HMA.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) for $3.9 billion to increase its base during the overhaul of the country’s healthcare system.

Health Management on Tuesday also disclosed it had received additional subpoenas in a widening federal government investigation of its admissions practices. The troubled company also named a new CEO on Tuesday.

Jul 25, 2013

Boston Scientific signals new growth, shares up 11 pct

July 25 (Reuters) – Boston Scientific Corp on
Thursday reported its first quarter of operating revenue growth
in years and beat analyst expectations for second-quarter
profit, pushing up shares to their highest level in nearly four
years.

Like many medical devicemakers, Boston Scientific has
struggled with weak sales for the last several years as U.S.
consumers lost their jobs and health insurance, leading them to
delay medical procedures. Demand also fell as governments around
the world cut spending on healthcare.

Jul 24, 2013

Insurer WellPoint sees $20 billion Obamacare opportunity

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – WellPoint Inc (WLP.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), the nation’s second largest health insurer, sees President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform giving a $20 billion boost to its revenue by 2016, led by an expansion of the Medicaid program for the poor and the introduction of subsidized coverage for the uninsured.

WellPoint will be one of the largest players on health insurance exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act that will allow consumers to choose subsidized health plans beginning on October 1. It plans to compete on the exchanges in the 14 states where it operates Blue Cross Blue Shield licenses.

Jul 18, 2013

UnitedHealth upbeat on growth, copes with Medicare cuts

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – UnitedHealth Group Inc (UNH.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) posted a bigger-than-expected rise in quarterly profit as it enrolled more people in private and government-sponsored health insurance plans and said it expects long-term growth after U.S. healthcare reform takes effect.

Shares rose nearly 6 percent on Thursday as the company said it was “strongly positive” about the future despite near-term challenges tied to decreased funding for its privately run Medicare Advantage health plans for seniors and costs related to President Barack Obama’s healthcare law.

Jul 18, 2013

UnitedHealth second-quarter profit rises, beats expectations

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – UnitedHealth Group Inc (UNH.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) on Thursday reported a bigger-than-expected rise in second-quarter net income as it enrolled more people in private and government-paid health insurance plans and sold more health technology systems.

UnitedHealth reported net income of $1.44 billion, or $1.40 per share, compared with $1.34 billion, or $1.27 per share, a year earlier.

Jul 17, 2013

New York’s individual insurance rates to fall in 2014: governor

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – Many New York state residents who buy health insurance next year will most likely see their premiums cut by half as President Barack Obama’s healthcare law creates subsidies that may increase the number of people in this market by the hundreds of thousands.

Information on the state’s rates, which will figure in a national debate over whether “Obamacare” will make health insurance more affordable, was released on Wednesday by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The figures represent some of the biggest discounts seen among a handful of states that have disclosed price information for the plans, which will begin to be offered to consumers on October 1.

Jul 16, 2013

Hospital company HCA says admissions rise, sector shares up

July 16 (Reuters) – HCA Holdings Inc, the largest
U.S. for-profit hospital operator, said on Tuesday that
second-quarter patient admissions rose more than 1 percent,
boosting revenue and profit and pushing up shares in the sector.

The admissions increase, while small, came after a slow
first quarter as HCA and other hospital chains struggled to
attract patients. People are using medical services less
frequently due to rising out-of-pocket expenses for their
insurance plans, or because they have no insurance coverage.