KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Florida Regulators OK Aetna’s Acquisition Of Humana

Other states and the federal Department of Justice are still reviewing the details of the sale. Also in the news, Express Scripts is giving close scrutiny to Valeant prescriptions and the latest on Theranos.

The Wall Street Journal: Florida Insurance Regulator Approves Aetna’s Acquisition Of Humana
Florida’s insurance regulator approved Aetna Inc.’s acquisition of Humana Inc., and required no divestitures, an important win for the companies from a state that is a key market. The $34 billion deal still needs to win approval from the federal Justice Department’s antitrust officials, likely the most important hurdle, as well as other states. But Florida is a cornerstone of Humana’s Medicare franchise, so its review was closely watched. (Wilde Mathews, 2/15)

Miami Herald: Florida Approves Humana Sale To Aetna, No Divestiture Of Enrollees
More than one million Floridians covered by Humana and CarePlus health plans will not have to change insurance after state regulators on Monday gave conditional approval to a plan by rival Aetna to purchase the companies. The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, which reviewed the sale, will not require Humana and CarePlus policy holders to move to an unaffiliated company because of “its potential to disrupt quality of services, benefits, networks, and cost-sharing provisions,” according to the announcement. No transaction price was given. (Chang, 2/15)

Bloomberg: Express Scripts Giving 'Extra Scrutiny' To Valeant Prescriptions
Express Scripts Holding Co. is carefully scrutinizing prescriptions for products made by Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc., making sure the pharmacy manager’s rules are being followed. ... Valeant last year was accused of working with a network of pharmacies to boost sales of its drugs and get them reimbursed by health insurers and pharmacy benefit managers like Express Scripts, even when there were cheaper generics available. (Langreth and Koons, 2/12)

Bloomberg: Theranos Files Plan To CMS For Fixing California Lab Problems
Theranos Inc. filed a plan to U.S. regulators to fix serious deficiencies at the company’s blood-testing lab in Newark, California, as founder Elizabeth Holmes works to regain credibility for her struggling startup. The company submitted the proposed plan of correction late Friday to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, CMS spokesman Aaron Albright said in an e-mail. (Tracer and Chen, 2/12)

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