KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Four Largest Insurers In Mass. Post First-Quarter Losses

The Boston Globe's Business Updates: Massachusetts' "four biggest health insurers today posted first-quarter losses totalling more than $150 million, with three of the carriers blaming the bulk of their deficit on the Patrick administration's decision to cap rate increases for individuals and small businesses." Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Tufts Health Plan and Fallon Community Health Plan all reported loses.  

"Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, the state's largest health insurer, reported a $65.2 million net loss for the three months ending March 31. ... The only large carrier that didn't tap into its reserve in the first quarter was Fallon Community Health Plan, which posted a net loss of $8.5 million and an operating loss of $10.8 million compared with net income of $976,163 and an operating loss of $1.3 million for the same period last year. A spokeswoman for Fallon said the Worcester insurer decided not to draw from reserves in the first quarter to cover losses it anticipates in the second quarter" (Weisman, 5/17).

Dow Jones Newswires/The Wall Street Journal:  But there has been lots of "deal activity" in other areas of the health care industry. "Sunday, drug maker Astellas Pharma Inc. (4503.TO) clinched a $4 billion deal for cancer-drug maker OSI Pharmaceuticals Inc. (OSIP); meanwhile, on Monday, hospital operator Universal Health Services Inc. (UHS) agreed to acquire mental-health inpatient clinic operator Psychiatric Solutions Inc. (PSYS) for about $2 billion. Merger-and-acquisition professionals ... expect more deals this year involving hospitals, pharmacy benefit managers, medical-device makers and drug distributors, as well as follow-on and initial public offering" (Brin, 5/17).

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