KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Humana Offers Perspective On How Botched Rollout Has Affected Insurance Industry

In a Wednesday call with investors, the company's chief operating officer said Humana assumes that, because of the website problems, the government will extend the open enrollment period beyond its current March 31 cutoff. The insurer also scaled back its estimates of how many people will sign up for new coverage options.    

Reuters: Top U.S. Insurer Sees Weak Obamacare Sign-Ups, Prepares For Delay
A top U.S. health insurer gave the first detailed view of how the problem-plagued rollout of President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law is affecting the industry, saying on Wednesday it had cut its enrollment forecasts by at least a half and expected the government to delay the sign-up deadline (Humer and Cornwell, 11/6).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Humana Exec Predicts Obamacare Open Enrollment Extension
Humana, one of nation's largest health insurers, said Wednesday that it expects the Obama administration to extend open enrollment for its troubled online marketplaces beyond March 31.  But a spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Julie Bataille, said, "Consumers still have ample time to enroll in the six-month open enrollment period" (Galewitz, 11/6).

Modern Healthcare: Humana Execs Assume Enrollment Will Be Extended
As the Obama administration continued to assure lawmakers and consumers that will be fixed soon, Humana executives suggested the enrollment period for the exchanges will be extended beyond March 31 because of the glitches that have hobbled online signups since the Oct. 1 launch. James Murray, the insurance company's chief operating officer, expressed that opinion on a call with investors Wednesday to discuss third-quarter earnings (Demko, 11/6).

The Wall Street Journal: Humana Profit Falls On Higher Costs
Humana and its peers next year face shrinking government funding for Medicare Advantage plans, which are private industry's version of the health plan for the elderly and disabled. Humana is more tethered to these plans than any other big insurers, making its ability to digest lower incoming payments while guarding profit margins a key issue. The company -- which is one of the biggest providers of privately run Medicare Advantage health plans for seniors in the U.S. -- also has bought stakes in doctor practices in an effort to push further into providing health services, and not just paying for them (Tadena, 11/6).

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