KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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State Auditor Raises Concerns Over Covered California’s No-Bid Contracts

The auditors found nine contracts where the exchange did not sufficiently justify why it used a sole-source contract. Meanwhile, a report finds that three out of five Californians could have had data stolen, in part due to the breach at Anthem.

The Associated Press: Auditor Questions No-Bid Contracts At Covered California
California's state auditor on Tuesday questioned the use of no-bid contracts at the Covered California health insurance exchange, which spent nearly $200 million during a three-year period without seeking competitive bids on 64 contracts. The total represented about one-fifth of the nearly $1 billion in contracts issued during the period. (Cooper, 2/16)

The Sacramento Bee: California’s Health Exchange Bent Own Rules In Awarding Big Contracts
A new audit slams Covered California, the agency tasked with enrolling state residents in Obamacare, for not following rules when awarding lucrative contracts without a competitive-bidding process. The report discovered nine out of 40 justifications given for the sole-source contracts were insufficient based on the agency’s own standards. Covered California’s policy at the time allowed sole-source contracts, but generally only when timeliness or unique expertise were required for the job. (Cadelago, 2/16)

The Associated Press: Report: 3 of 5 Californians May Have Had Data Stolen in 2015
California's attorney general says as many as three in five Californians may have had electronic records stolen last year. Attorney General Kamala Harris said Tuesday that there were 178 data breaches in California endangering 24 million records. Her report blames a few large breaches for most of the thefts. That includes records exposed by health insurer Anthem Inc. affecting more than 10 million Californians. (2/16)

Media outlets also report on insurer news out of Florida —

Health News Florida: Analyst: FL's Conditions For Aetna To Buy Humana 'Pretty Mild'
Florida regulators have approved Aetna’s bid to buy Humana’s health insurance companies in Florida – with conditions. According to a statement from the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, Aetna and its companies must maintain “fair treatment of Floridians with HIV.” Aetna and other Florida insurers had previously been accused of raising the costs of HIV drugs to discourage enrollment. Regulators want stricter financial requirements for the company as well. (Aboraya, 2/16)

Health News Florida: UnitedHealthCare Announces Deal That Could Affect 20,000 In Central FL
Health insurer UnitedHealthcare will partner with a local doctor’s group in a move they say will lower health care costs. The move could affect more than 20,000 people in central Florida. Accountable Care Organizations, or ACOs, were created by the Affordable Care Act, and the idea was simple: If doctors can prove they can save money without sacrificing the quality of the care, the government will give them a cut of the savings. (Aboraya, 2/16)

Health News Florida: Court Sets May Arguments In Hospital, Insurer Fight
The Florida Supreme Court will hear arguments May 4 in a dispute between State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance and a major Jacksonville hospital about information related to the hospital's reimbursement rates. State Farm took the case to the Supreme Court last year after the 1st District Court of Appeal sided with Shands Jacksonville Medical Center, now known as UF Health Jacksonville. The case involves personal-injury protection auto-insurance claims and the hospital's contracts with health insurers for other types of care. (2/16)

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