Caroline's Feed
Mar 7, 2013

Most large employers to keep health insurance benefit-survey

March 7 (Reuters) – Most large employers don’t expect to
send their full-time employees to government health exchanges
for insurance during the next five years, but some retirees and
part-time workers will end up there, a new survey has found.

The outlook for corporate insurance in the long term is less
certain.

Only about 26 percent of large employers surveyed were very
confident their company will offer healthcare benefits in 10
years. That is a slight increase from last year’s 23 percent,
but a sharp drop from 73 percent five years ago.

Mar 6, 2013

Royalty Pharma says ready to move quickly on Elan offer

By Caroline Humer and Jessica Toonkel

(Reuters) – U.S. investment firm Royalty Pharma on Wednesday stood by its offer to acquire Irish drugmaker Elan, which has rejected the approach, and said it was ready to move quickly and could complete due diligence within 20 days.

The firm is scheduling meetings with 10 to 15 of Elan’s largest shareholders, including Johnson & Johnson, as well as a few smaller investors, over the next several days, Pablo Legorreta, chief executive of Royalty Pharma, told Reuters.

Mar 5, 2013

Generics brought down common drug prices in 2012 -Express Scripts

March 5 (Reuters) – Cheaper generic drugs in 2012 brought
down spending on treatments for common diseases like high
cholesterol for the first time in 20 years, according to a
report from the largest manager of U.S. pharmacy benefits.

A rise in spending on specialty drug treatments offset that
decline, however, and drove total U.S. payments for prescription
drugs up 2.7 percent last year, Express Scripts Holding Co
said on Tuesday.

Mar 1, 2013

In telecommuting debate, Aetna sticks by big at-home workforce

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – For more than six years, Tammy Saunders has woken at 5:30 a.m., showered, dressed and walked upstairs – to her office.

A nurse practitioner, Saunders works as a case manager for Hartford, Connecticut-based health insurer Aetna Inc, helping college students recovering from accidents or surgery get the follow-up services they need.

Feb 19, 2013

Proposed 2014 Medicare Advantage rates cut insurer payments

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – Proposed reductions in government payments for Medicare Advantage insurance plans – estimated at $11 billion by an insurance industry trade group – sent health insurer shares lower on Tuesday.

Humana Inc (HUM.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said that the planned cuts would affect its growth in 2014, and its shares fell as much as 10 percent. Insurers UnitedHealth Group Inc (UNH.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), Aetna Inc (AET.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Cigna Corp (CI.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) also were slightly down.

Feb 13, 2013

Health insurer WellPoint names hospital executive as CEO

By Caroline Humer and Susan Kelly

(Reuters) – WellPoint Inc named Joseph Swedish, the top executive in a large non-profit hospital system, as the health insurer’s new chief executive officer after a half-year search that began when former CEO Angela Braly abruptly stepped down in August.

The No.2 U.S. health insurer faces a challenging year in healthcare reform as the Affordable Care Act brings more changes in 2014, including the introduction of electronic marketplaces where insurers will sell directly to consumers.

Feb 12, 2013

Health insurer WellPoint names Joseph Swedish as CEO

Feb 12 (Reuters) – WellPoint Inc named Joseph
Swedish, the top executive in a large non-profit hospital
system, as the health insurer’s new chief executive officer
after a half-year search that began when former CEO Angela Braly
abruptly stepped down in August.

The No.2 U.S. health insurer faces a challenging year in
healthcare reform as the Affordable Care Act brings more changes
in 2014, including the introduction of electronic marketplaces
where insurers will sell directly to consumers.

Feb 8, 2013

LabCorp says Sandy hurt quarter, sees 2013 revenue rise

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – Diagnostics testing company Laboratory Corp of America Holdings (LH.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) reported a drop in fourth-quarter profit on Friday and said bad weather, particularly Superstorm Sandy, was partly to blame.

The storm hurt sales volume during the quarter by about one percentage point and lowered earnings per share by 9 cents, the company said.

Feb 7, 2013

Cigna’s HealthSpring acquisition helps profit rise

Feb 7 (Reuters) – Health insurer Cigna Corp. reported
a higher-than-anticipated fourth-quarter profit on Thursday,
helped by the acquisition of Medicare provider HealthSpring and
medical costs stayed within expectations.

Cigna said fourth-quarter net income rose to $406 million,
or $1.41 per share, from $273 million, or 98 cents per share, a
year earlier. Profit was helped by favorable medical costs,
revenue growth and operating cost controls.

Feb 4, 2013

Humana quarterly profit falls, flu season to cost $75 million

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – Health insurer Humana Inc (HUM.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) reported a drop in fourth-quarter profits on Monday and said it was experiencing the worst flu season in a decade that would cost $75 million for added healthcare services such as hospitalizations.

Its profits beat analyst expectations, however, and it gave a better-than-expected first quarter outlook. Shares rose $3.12, or 4.1 percent, to $78.47 in early trading.