Caroline's Feed
Feb 6, 2014

Aetna CEO says expects to lose money on Obamacare exchanges

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – Aetna Inc (AET.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), the third-largest U.S. health insurer, said on Thursday it expects to lose money on the Obamacare exchanges even as demand for these insurance plans has picked up over the past few weeks.

President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform law, often called Obamacare, created online insurance exchanges where individuals can buy health coverage with income-based government subsidies. The exchanges opened on October 1 to sell plans for coverage effective January 1, but technology issues delayed enrollment for the first few months.

Feb 6, 2014

Aetna CEO says Obamacare exchange enrollment picking up

Feb 6 (Reuters) – Aetna Inc, the third-largest U.S.
health insurer, said on Thursday that demand for insurance plans
on the Obamacare exchanges had picked up in the last few weeks
and that it had signed up 135,000 paid members through the end
of January.

President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform law, often called
Obamacare, created online insurance exchanges where individuals
can buy health coverage with income-based government subsidies.
The exchanges opened on Oct. 1 to sell plans for coverage
effective Jan. 1, but technology issues held back sign-ups for
the first few months.

Feb 5, 2014

Humana says young people signing up for Obamacare

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – Humana Inc said on Wednesday that it received 202,000 applications for Obamacare health insurance plans, many of them from young people, but still gave a wide forecast for 2014 profit as it waits to see the demographics of future customers.

The U.S. health insurer made the disclosure as it reported a fourth-quarter loss due to a $243 million charge to set aside financial reserves for a group of long-term care policies that it no longer sells.

Jan 29, 2014

WellPoint says health exchange applicants hit expectations

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – U.S. health insurer WellPoint Inc said on Wednesday the applicants for the new Obamacare health plans are of the age and demographics it had expected, indicating that medical costs will not soar beyond the prices it charges.

WellPoint, which released lower fourth-quarter results on Wednesday, said that based on age, insurance plan selection, income levels, gender and available pharmacy data, it believes it has set the right premium rates for these new customers.

Jan 29, 2014

WellPoint fourth-quarter profit falls on rising medical use

Jan 29 (Reuters) – WellPoint, the second-largest U.S. health
insurer, on Wednesday reported a lower quarterly profit as
consumers increased their use of medical services ahead of the
cancellation of some insurance plans at the end of 2013.

The company also took a charge for the recently announced
sale of its contact lens business, 1-800 Contacts, to private
equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners, which caused a sharp decline
in net profit.

Jan 16, 2014

UnitedHealth sees Obamacare and Medicare costs, then growth

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – UnitedHealth Group Inc said on Thursday implementing Obamacare and private Medicare funding cuts will eat into 2014 profit but the government-paid insurance business will drive growth as more people sign up.

UnitedHealth, the largest U.S. health insurer, reported fourth-quarter profit a beat higher than analyst expectations, but its shares and those of major competitors fell anyway as investors focused on costs.

Jan 10, 2014

U.S. to part with contractor CGI for Obamacare website

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – The U.S. government will part ways next month with contractor CGI Federal over the troubled Obamacare enrollment website,, which struggled with technical problems when it launched in October, the company said on Friday.

U.S.-listed shares of CGI Group, the parent of CGI Federal, were down 2.9 percent at $31.57 in late trading on the New York Stock Exchange, after the Washington Post reported the news earlier in the day.

Jan 8, 2014

Insurers push Obamacare payment deadline to late January

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Some top U.S. health insurers are giving consumers more time to pay their Obamacare premiums, extending the deadline to the end of January for benefits that begin retroactively from January 1.

The new extension adds to a series of deadline delays by government and the insurance industry to compensate for technical failures and errors plaguing the enrollment process under President Barack Obama’s healthcare law.

Jan 6, 2014

U.S. health spending rose 3.7 pct in 2012 as economy dragged

Jan 6 (Reuters) – U.S. healthcare spending rose 3.7 percent
in 2012 to $2.8 trillion, the fourth year in a row in this range
as the slow economic recovery tempered private insurance use,
drug prices fell and the government held back payment increases
for doctors, the Obama administration said on Monday.

Since 2009, increases in spending on healthcare have run
from 3.6 percent to 3.8 percent, below pre-recession rates which
have been falling since their peak in 2003, the report from the
U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said.

Dec 18, 2013

Insurers wary of new Obamacare fix for January health plans

By Caroline Humer and Lewis Krauskopf

(Reuters) – Insurance companies are struggling with a new request by the Obama administration to make sure people receive medical benefits under healthcare reform come January 1, even if they miss a sign-up deadline set for next Monday.

The government has sought to reassure consumers, already frustrated by technical problems that stalled access to its enrollment website in October and November, that those who need coverage starting on New Year’s Day will be able to sign up.