Weekly Health Insurance Industry Highlights
Catch up on healthcare news and gain insights from our own industry gurus.
Wisconsin healthcare systems create new partnership
Six of the most prominent healthcare systems in Wisconsin have created a new partnership, jumping on the nationwide bandwagon of forming strategic alliances to share information, while remaining independent.
The six systems are Aspirus in Wausau; Aurora Health Care in Milwaukee; Bellin Health in Green Bay; Gundersen Health System in La Crosse; ThedaCare in Appleton; and UW Health in Madison. Together, they comprise 44 hospitals and more than 5,600 physicians, and they provide care to about 90% of the Badger State’s population, according to a release announcing the partnership. MODERN HEALTHCARE | SIX WISCONSIN SYSTEMS CREATE PACT, AIM FOR ACO
VA bill signed into law
President Barack Obama has signed a bill that not only gives the Veterans Affairs Department billions more to contract out care for vets but also roughly $5 billion to hire more medical personnel. However, experts caution that the VA will need to do a superior marketing job to lure doctors away from the private sector. The process could prove challenging, they say. MODERN HEALTHCARE | VA BILL SIGNED INTO LAW, NOW DOC-RECRUITMENT CHALLENGE LOOMS
Health Exchange Updates
Insurance exchanges will have better technology in the future
Experts and consumer advocates have faulted the Obamacare insurance exchanges for not providing clear, accurate and up-to-date information to consumers about which providers are in the health plans offered on the exchanges. Experts say in the future, exchanges will have better technological tools to offer accurate provider information. But for now, they say, such tools don’t exist and insurers have to do a better job themselves at making sure their lists are up to date. MODERN HEALTHCARE | REFORM UPDATE: EXCHANGES NEED BETTER TECH OR BETTER INFO ON NARROW NETWORKS, EXPERTS SAY
Massachusetts will remain a state-based marketplace in 2015
BOSTON – Friday, August 8, 2014 – Maydad Cohen, Special Assistant to the Governor for Project Delivery, today announced that the Patrick Administration has decided, with support from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), to use hCentive the state’s Health Insurance Exchange (HIX).
By proving hCentive’s IT readiness for Fall 2014 Open Enrollment, the Commonwealth can remain a state-based Marketplace, stop its contingency planning to join the Federally Facilitated Marketplace (FFM) and focus exclusively on expanding access to affordable, quality health insurance through hCentive. COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS PRESS RELEASE | STATE TO USE HCENTIVE AS HEALTH INSURANCE EXCHANGE WEBSITE FOR FALL 2014 OPEN ENROLLMENT
Oracle has sued the state of Oregon
Oracle Corp. has sued the state of Oregon in a fight over the state’s health insurance exchange, saying government officials are using the technology company’s software despite $23 million in disputed bills.
Oracle’s breach-of-contract lawsuit against Cover Oregon was filed Friday in federal court in Portland. It alleges that state officials repeatedly promised to pay the company but have not done so.
The lawsuit seeks payment of the disputed $23 million plus interest, along with other unspecified damages. ABCNEWS | ORACLE SUES OREGON OVER HEALTH INSURANCE EXCHANGE
Competition on 2015 Health Insurance Exchanges
The nation’s largest health insurers are expanding into new markets in 2015, offering additional products on government-run exchanges, according to top executives at several health plans.
Cigna, for example, disclosed last week that it would enter Maryland, Missouri and Georgia next year on top of the five states where insurer already operates. And Aetna said it would also be expanding into Georgia next year on top of the 16 states and the District of Columbia where the Hartford, Conn.-based insurer already offers health plans on public exchanges. United HealthGroup, the nation’s largest health insurer, has plans to expand “to as many two dozen state exchanges” after an admittedly small presence in this first year of public exchanges.
Aetna is already a big player on the government-run exchanges with the company or its Coventry subsidiary offering health plans on public exchanges operating in the District of Columbia, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Utah and certain areas of Arizona, Florida, Texas, Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio and South Carolina, the company said.
Cigna currently sells health plans on public exchanges in Arizona, Florida, Colorado, Tennessee and Texas. FORBES | WITH INSURER ACA EXPANSIONS IN 2015, MORE OBAMACARE CHOICES, COMPETITION
2015 HIX Participants
Individual State Updates
For more information about a specific state, click on the state name to be directed to the state’s 2015 HIX Competitors page. These state specific pages will be updated regularly as information becomes available about 2015 insurers and product offerings.
- Florida Health Care Plan Inc.
- Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Florida Inc. (Florida Blue)
- Health Options Inc. (Florida Blue)
- Aetna Life Insurance Company / Aetna Health Inc.
- Coventry Health Plan of Florida Inc.
- Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company
- Health First Insurance Inc.
- Humana Medical Plan Inc. / Humana Health Insurance Company of Florida Inc.
- Molina Healthcare of Florida Inc.
- Sunshine State Health Plan Inc. (Centene) Ambetter
- Preferred Medical Plan Inc.
- Health First Health Plans
- Time Insurance Company (Assurant)
- UnitedHealthcare Life Insurance Company / United Healthcare of Florida Inc.
Nebraska & Iowa
Nebraska’s public health insurance exchange will lose one insurer for 2015 but gain a new one: Time Health Insurance, an affiliate of Assurant Health of Milwaukee.
Time Health will join Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska, CoOportunity Health and Coventry Health on the Nebraska exchange during the open enrollment period for 2015.
Assurant has offered individual health insurance in Nebraska and other states for many years under the Time Insurance name but not through exchanges in any state.
“We are filing to be on a select number of states (exchanges), and we’ll look to expand our footprint in future years,” said spokeswoman Mary Hinderliter. “Drivers of our decision include a review of market size and competitive landscape, offering broad provider network access to consumers, and a focus on federal exchange opportunities for this year.”
Health Alliance Midwest of Urbana, Illinois, offered policies on the Nebraska exchange this year but will not in 2015. “Based on 2014 performance, we did not feel we could offer plans at a competitive and sustainable price,” the company said in a statement.
Iowans buying individual insurance on the exchange will choose between Coventry and CoOportunity statewide, plus Gunderson Health Plan, Avera Health Plans and Sanford Health in parts of the state.
OMAHA.COM | CHANGES IN COMPANIES, RATES
Insurance Commissioner Scott J. Kipper announces that the Nevada Division of Insurance has received and made available online the proposed health insurance rates for plan year 2015 for the individual and small group markets in Nevada. These proposed rates are for plans sold both on and off Nevada’s health insurance exchange.
The submitted filings represent five carriers and 92 health plans that will be sold in Nevada’s individual market on the Exchange, and 16 carriers and 242 health plans that will be sold in Nevada’s individual market off the Exchange.
For the small group market on the Exchange, submitted filings represent one carrier, and 26 health plans. For the small group market off the Exchange, submitted filings represent 19 carriers and 663 plans to be sold.
The approved rates for both the individual and small group markets will be made available to the public on the Division’s website doi.nv.gov/Health-Rate-Review/ on October 16 for plans that are effective January 1, 2015.
NEVADA DIVISION OF INSURANCE | NEVADA DIVISION OF INSURANCE POSTS 2015 PROPOSED HEALTH INSURANCE RATES ONLINE
Ohio rates approved for 16 companies selling on the individual exchange in 2015 and eight companies selling exchange plans in the small group market.
OHIO DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE | FEDERAL EXCHANGE HEALTH INSURANCE PREMIUMS FINALIZED FOR 2015
Competition among health insurers will increase next year in Pennsylvania as the nation’s largest carrier vies for customers on the federal exchange set up in the state under the Affordable Care Act.
United Healthcare will offer health plans for individuals in the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia regions on HealthCare.gov when open enrollment begins in three months, the company said on Wednesday. The insurer did not sell policies in the state this year on the exchange.
TRIBLIVE | MORE HEALTH INSURERS TO VIE ON FEDERAL EXCHANGE