Study: Limited Competition Raised Obamacare Prices

KHN Original

Many insurers only dipped a toe into the Affordable Care Act’s online marketplaces for their first year. Cigna, one of the country’s largest insurers, offered 2014 plans to individuals in fewer than half a dozen states. Humana is only in a little more than a dozen states. The biggest health insurer, UnitedHealthcare, didn’t offer any policies […]

WellPoint Softens Forecast For Obamacare Rate Hikes

KHN Original

Welcoming a surge of young, last-minute enrollees, the biggest player in the health law’s insurance marketplaces on Wednesday tempered its prediction for substantial 2015 rate increases. Five weeks ago WellPoint executive Ken Goulet told analysts that premium increases for 2015 plans “will probably be in double-digit plus.” On Wednesday’s conference call to discuss first-quarter results, […]

Who Really Pays For Health Care Might Surprise You

KHN Original

Implementation of the health law has renewed discussions of who wins, loses and gains access to health insurance. But questions persist. Here’s a corrective to common misconceptions about who pays for health care.

Biggest Insurer Shocked With Hepatitis C Costs

KHN Original

UnitedHealth Group spent $100 million on hepatitis C drugs in the first three months of the year, much more than expected, the company said Thursday. The news helped drive down the biggest insurance company’s stock and underscores the challenge for all health care payers in covering Sovaldi, an expensive new pill for hepatitis C. “We’ve […]

Hospital Visits Fell When Seniors Got Drug Coverage

KHN Original

Eleven years ago Bob Bennett, then a Republican senator from Utah, made a fiscal sales pitch for including prescription drugs in Medicare coverage for seniors. “Medicare says if you go to the hospital and run up a bill of however many tens of thousands of dollars to stay that many days, we will pay for […]

Insurers May Get Cost Break Thanks To Rocky ACA Rollout

KHN Original

The Obama administration keeps changing the rules on implementing the Affordable Care Act. Insurance companies keep complaining. But they’re unlikely to grouse about the latest adjustment. On Tuesday the Department of Health and Human Services signaled its intention to temporarily give insurers a break on the portion of premiums they must spend on medical care […]

Survey: Employers Less Confident Of Future Health Benefits

KHN Original

Big employers are pretty sure they’ll keep offering workers health care coverage. But they seem a lot less sure than they used to be, according to a survey released Thursday. Only one large company in four recently surveyed by Towers Watson and the National Business Group on Health is confident it will provide medical coverage […]

Co-Ops Report Early Enrollment Successes And Expansion Plans

KHN Original

The Affordable Care Act’s nonprofit co-op health plans, which see themselves as the rebel alliance battling established insurers, have signed close to 300,000 members and are set to expand into three new states next year, officials say. Starting from zero in October, New York’s Health Republic Insurance has enrolled more than 50,000 policyholders, said John Morrison, who […]

Humana ACA Enrollees Younger Than Expected

KHN Original

Here’s more fodder for the debate over whether older, sicker members will swamp insurance plans created by the Affordable Care Act. Insurers have wondered whether enough younger, healthier “invincibles” would sign up through online exchanges to subsidize folks with poorer health. The worry was that, without their premiums, expenses for older folks would drive up average […]

WellPoint Discloses Big Sign-Ups Through Health Exchanges

KHN Original

The biggest player in the Affordable Care Act’s online insurance marketplaces delivered encouraging news to Obamacare supporters Wednesday. After weeks of uncertainty about how many people have been applying for coverage that started Jan. 1, their age spread and whether or not they’re paying premiums, WellPoint disclosed higher-than-expected early membership growth and said it expects to make […]

WellPoint Optimistic On Exchanges Despite Slow Start

KHN Original

WellPoint Inc. and its Anthem Blue Cross plans made one of the biggest bets on selling insurance to individuals and families through the health law’s online exchanges. No regrets, CEO Joseph Swedish said Tuesday, despite the balky beginning. “Despite the near-term uncertainty, we believe exchanges will be growing as a big part of the market […]