KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Anthem Blue Cross Will Reduce Rate Increase For About 630,000 Individual Policyholders

The move is in resonse to pressure from California's insurance regulator. Meanwhile, Cardinal Health, the nation's second-largest distributor of prescription drugs, will buy a large medical supplier. Cardinal Health hopes to expand into home health care.

Los Angeles Times: Anthem Blue Cross Rolls Back Rate Increase
In response to pressure from California regulators, Anthem Blue Cross agreed to a slightly lower rate increase for about 630,000 individual policyholders that will save consumers an estimated $54 million. Anthem, a unit of Indianapolis insurance giant WellPoint Inc., had sought to raise rates an average of 18% beginning Feb. 1. California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said Thursday that the company had agreed to reduce the average increase to 14% after regulators reviewed Anthem's rate filing (Terhune, 2/15).

The Associated Press: Anthem Reduces Rate Hikes On 630,000 Policyholders
California's insurance watchdog said Thursday that Anthem Blue Cross has agreed to reduce its rate increase for 630,000 policyholders. Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones announced Anthem has voluntarily agreed to reduce its premium increase for the individual market after his department conducted a review (2/14).

The New York Times: Cardinal Health Is Buying Large Medical Supplier For $2 Billion
Cardinal Health, the second-largest distributor of prescription drugs, announced on Thursday that it was buying a large medical supplier in a $2 billion deal aimed at expanding the business into the growing area of home health care (Thomas, 2/14).

In other marketplace news -

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: As Hospital Challenges Rise, Their Bond Ratings Fall
Nonprofit hospitals don't issue stock, so you can't track their financial health by the ups and downs of share prices. But many sell bonds, and it's fair to say that hospital bonds haven't fared as well recently as the Dow Jones average. Last year set a record for hospital-bond downgrades, as debt levels rose and hospitals faced the uncertainty of business under the Affordable Care Act, debt-rater Moody's said this week (Hancock, 2/15).

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