Caroline's Feed
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.

Jan 31, 2013

Aetna profit falls on costs and legal settlement

Jan 31 (Reuters) – Aetna Inc fourth-quarter earnings
fell sharply, the health insurer said on Thursday, as costs rose
in parts of its employer-based insurance business and it took
charges for settling litigation over out-of-network payments.

The company said Chief Financial Officer Joseph Zubretsky
will lead a new business internally. His CFO slot will be filled
by Shawn Guertin, who has been with Aetna since 2011 and was
previously CFO of Coventry Health Care Inc, which Aetna
is buying.

Jan 30, 2013

Bills, bills, bills replace the co-pay, sapping time and money

January 30 (Reuters) – Many Americans who visit the doctor
this year are in for some unexpected pain.

A growing number, many of them in employer-sponsored health
plans, are enrolled in high-deductible health insurance plans
that typically have lower premiums but require consumers to pay
thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses before coverage
kicks in.

Jan 25, 2013

Insurers tally flu’s costs as U.S. epidemic continues

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The bills for the flu – at epidemic levels in the United States this winter – are piling up.

The nation’s three largest insurers, UnitedHealth Group Inc, WellPoint Inc, and Aetna Inc, have paid at least $100 million more than usual this year to cover doctor and hospital visits by people with the flu.

Jan 23, 2013

WellPoint expects states to expand Medicaid

Jan 23 (Reuters) – A top U.S. insurance industry executive
on Wednesday predicted that most states will agree to expand
their Medicaid programs under President Barack Obama’s
healthcare reform law, despite opposition from more than a dozen
Republican governors.

“In the long run, the economic benefits to the states will
be such that most states will eventually expand Medicaid,” said
Richard Zoretic, the executive vice president who oversees
Medicaid programs at WellPoint Inc., the-second largest
U.S. health insurer.