Caroline's Feed
Mar 4, 2015

U.S. hospitals optimistic they’ll dodge bullet with Obamacare ruling

NEW YORK, March 4 (Reuters) – U.S. hospital executives said
on Wednesday they were optimistic they will avoid the toughest
consequences of a Supreme Court decision on whether millions of
Americans can continue to purchase subsidized health benefits
under Obamacare.

The high court heard oral arguments in the case challenging
the federal tax credits that help residents in at least 34
states afford medical benefits under President Barack Obama’s
healthcare law.

Mar 2, 2015

Cardinal to buy J&J vascular technology unit Cordis for $1.9 billion

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. pharmaceutical and medical equipment maker Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said on Monday it agreed to sell its Cordis vascular technology unit to Cardinal Health (CAH.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) for $1.9 billion, completing its exit from the cardiovascular stent business.

Cardinal, one of the largest U.S. drug distribution companies, is expanding its medical equipment offerings for physicians.

Feb 25, 2015

Anthem says hack may affect more than 8.8 million other BCBS members

NEW YORK, Feb 24 (Reuters) – Health insurer Anthem Inc
, which earlier this month reported that it was hit by a
massive cyberbreach, said on Tuesday that 8.8 million to 18.8
million people who were members of other Blue Cross Blue Shield
plans could be victims in the attack.

Anthem, the second-largest U.S. health insurer, is part of a
national network of independently run Blue Cross Blue Shield
plans through which BCBS customers can receive medical services
when they are in an area where BCBS is operated by a different
company.

Feb 24, 2015

Anthem says at least 8.8 million non-customers could be victims in data hack

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – Health insurer Anthem Inc, which earlier this month reported that it was hit by a massive cyberbreach, said on Tuesday that 8.8 million to 18.8 million people who were not its customers could be victims in the attack.

Anthem, the country’s second-largest health insurer, is part of a national network of independently run Blue Cross Blue Shield plans through which BCBS customers can receive medical services when they are in an area where BCBS is operated by a different company.

Feb 20, 2015

U.S. proposes 0.9 percent cut in 2016 Medicare Advantage payments

Feb 20 (Reuters) – The U.S. government on Friday proposed a
0.9 percent cut in payments to health insurers for 2016 Medicare
Advantage plans, which provide health benefits to more than 16
million elderly or disabled people.

When combined with other factors such as medical coding
adjustments by insurers, the payments could increase insurer
revenue by 1.1 percent, according to documents released by a
division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Feb 18, 2015

Actavis to take Allergan name, reflecting brand-drug focus

NEW YORK, Feb 18 (Reuters) – Actavis Plc, a generic
drugmaker that has been steadily acquiring branded medicines,
said it will change its name to Allergan Inc after it completes
its planned $66 billion purchase of the Botox maker, signaling
its growing focus on patent-protected drugs.

Allergan’s medicine chest is chock full of branded drugs,
which command far higher prices than generics. They include
Botox, a $2.3 billion-a-year anti-wrinkle drug also used to
treat migraine headaches and other ailments. The company also
has a leading portfolio of eye treatments, facial fillers and
medical devices.

Feb 11, 2015

Experts warn 2015 could be ‘Year of the Healthcare Hack’

NEW YORK/BOSTON (Reuters) – Security experts are warning healthcare and insurance companies that 2015 will be the “Year of the Healthcare Hack,” as cybercriminals are increasingly attracted to troves of personal information held by U.S. insurers and hospitals that command high prices on the underground market.

    Anthem Inc, the No. 2 U.S. health insurer, last week disclosed a massive breach of its database containing nearly 80 million records, prompting investigations by state and federal authorities. That hack followed a breach last year at hospital operator Community Health Systems, which compromised some 4.5 million records.

Feb 6, 2015

Pfizer to buy Hospira for $15 billion to bolster hospital products

By Caroline Humer, Ransdell Pierson, Vidya L Nathan and Natalie Grover

(Reuters) – Pfizer Inc (PFE.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said it would buy Hospira Inc (HSP.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) for about $15 billion to boost its portfolio of generic injectable drugs and copies of biotech medicines.

Pfizer is known for prescription medicines like impotence treatment Viagra and Lyrica for nerve pain, but many of its biggest brands, including cholesterol treatment Lipitor and painkiller Celebrex, have lost patent protection and are facing cheaper generics. The company needs new products to keep its earnings growing.

Jan 28, 2015

U.S. health insurers eye higher Obamacare profit margins

NEW YORK, Jan 28 (Reuters) – Top U.S. health insurers say
their businesses offering medical coverage under so-called
Obamacare are turning into profitable ventures and that they are
now aiming to be on par with other sought-after government
health programs.

Two of the biggest insurers now say they could see hitting
profit margins of near 5 percent for these individual plans
created under the Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare,
as costs for new customers have remained manageable so far.

Jan 28, 2015

UnitedHealth backs Gilead’s Harvoni as preferred hepatitis C treatment

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – UnitedHealth Group Inc, the largest U.S. health insurer, on Wednesday backed Gilead Sciences Inc’s Harvoni as the preferred hepatitis C treatment on its 2015 commercial drug coverage list, another victory for Gilead over competitor AbbVie Inc.

Gilead and AbbVie have been in a battle for hepatitis C market share since a new AbbVie drug was approved in December that challenges Gilead’s blockbusters. Insurers and pharmacy benefit managers have been striking deals for preferred or exclusive status in exchange for discounts for 2015.