KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Fidelity To Introduce Health Shopping Website For Employer-Based Insurance, Other Benefits

The Fidelity Health Marketplace, a site also known as a private health exchange, will be targeted at businesses with as many as 2,500 workers. Also in the news, the Department of Health and Human Services is slated to begin audits this year of about 350 health care providers to examine their compliance with patient privacy regulations.

Bloomberg: Retirement Giant Fidelity Now Wants Workers' Health Insurance
Fidelity Investments is already the U.S.’s No. 2 mutual fund company. Now, it wants to get bigger in the health insurance business. The financial services firm is introducing a shopping website for health insurance and other employee benefits called Fidelity Health Marketplace. Targeted at businesses with as many as 2,500 workers, the site, known as a private health exchange, complements Fidelity’s existing benefits products such as retirement accounts. (Tracer, 1/26)

Thomson Reuters: Second Phase Audits Of Patient Privacy Compliance Starting Under U.S. Health Agency
Hundreds of U.S. health-care providers over the next three years will be scrutinized for their compliance with patient privacy regulations, as regulators respond to findings of widespread compliance gaps and launch a new round of industry audits. The audits by the Health and Human Services Department’s office of Civil Rights were slated to begin early this year, and are reported to eventually reach 350 providers such as doctors, pharmacies, and health insurance companies. (Polking, 1/26)

News outlets also examine earnings reports from Anthem, Johnson & Johnson and Philips —

Reuters: Health Insurer Anthem Reports Lower-Than-Expected Quarterly Profit
Health insurer Anthem Inc, which is in the process of buying smaller rival Cigna Corp (CI.N), reported a net profit that fell short of analysts' estimates, hampered by weakness in its Obamacare business. While the company's overall enrollment grew by 1.1 million during the year, it lost 118,000 members in its individual business, which sells plans under the Affordable Care Act. (1/27)

Bloomberg: J&J Profit Beats Estimates As CEO Sees More Deals To Fuel Growth
Johnson & Johnson, the world’s largest health-care company, beat fourth-quarter profit estimates, helped by blockbusters like arthritis treatment Remicade and psoriasis drug Stelara. The shares rose as much as 3.5 percent, the biggest intraday gain in five months, after J&J posted earnings of $1.44 a share, excluding some items, topping the $1.42 average of 20 analysts’ projections compiled by Bloomberg. J&J is relying on prescription medicines to boost growth and help mitigate a slowdown in the medical devices. The company said last week it plans to cut about 3,000 jobs from the medical-devices unit, which has been under pressure from cost-cutting by insurers and hospitals. (Koons, 1/26)

Bloomberg: Philips Earnings Beat Estimates On Jump In Medical Orders
Royal Philips NV’s profit rose more than estimated on growth in medical equipment, helping Chief Executive Officer Frans van Houten bolster his case for exiting the lighting-gear business that is the foundation of the 125-year-old Dutch company. Van Houten predicted 2016 will bring further "modest" sales growth, with “low single digit” growth in the global healthcare market. He’s budgeting for medical equipment to grow into a $125 billion industry on increasing demand for technology that allows hospitals to analyze clinical data, and patients to monitor health and nutrition on smartphones. (Groningen, 1/26)

Reuters: Philips Bolstered By Outlook For Health Care Business
Strong orders for its healthcare business helped to boost shares in Philips (PHG.AS), the Dutch company which is seeking to focus on scanners and medical technology and shed its traditional lighting operations. Philips CEO Frans van Houten said he expected modest growth in sales and earnings in 2016, with improvements mostly coming in the second half of the year. (Sterling, 1/26)

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