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Industry News

Feb 06, 2019

(Updated at 11:50 a.m. ET)

Louisville, Ky.-based health insurer Humana recorded higher revenue in the fourth quarter of 2018, as it brought in more premium revenue from Medicare Advantage plans.

In a conference call with investment analysts on Wednesday, company executives said Medicare Advantage plans performed better than expected in 2018 and anticipate even more membership growth this year after a successful annual enrollment period for 2019 coverage, which ended Dec. 7...

Feb 06, 2019
Health insurer Oscar Health tapped AIG executive Sid Sankaran to be its new chief financial officer starting on March 1.

Sankaran replaces Brian West, who left New York-based Oscar in September 2018 to join Refinitiv, a financial data firm owned by Thomson Reuters and the Blackstone Group.

Sankaran was most recently an executive vice president and CFO at property/casualty insurance giant AIG and before that was the company's chief risk officer.

"Sid embodies an unmatched...

Feb 05, 2019

President Donald Trump in his State of the Union address Tuesday night called for support for his administration's international reference price model for prescription drugs as he promised that lower healthcare costs are the "next major priority for me."

The president also urged Congress to push greater transparency across the healthcare industry, declaring that the government ought to require manufacturers, insurers and hospitals "to disclose real prices to foster competition and...

Feb 05, 2019
WellCare Health Plans grew revenue and profit in the fourth quarter of 2018 thanks in large part to its $2.5 billion acquisition of Meridian Health Plan.

The Tampa, Fla.-based insurer reported net income of $55.9 million on revenue of $6.1 billion in the fourth quarter of 2018. That compares with net income of $60.7 million on revenue of $4.3 billion during the same period in 2017. WellCare said organic growth and the reinstatement of the health insurer fee in 2018 also drove the increase...

Feb 05, 2019

Senators on Tuesday mulled a different way to get cheap, generic drugs to patients—encourage physicians to go around insurance plans and buy medications directly from drug wholesalers.

Senate health committee chair Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) was struck by Tuesday's testimony from the co-founder of a direct primary-care practice who described the extremely low prices he can secure...

Feb 05, 2019

This story also ran on NPR.
This story can be republished for free (details).

Surrounded by patients who told horror stories of being stuck with hefty bills, President Donald Trump recently waded into a widespread health care problem for which almost everyone — even those with insurance — is at risk: surprise medical billing.

Trump’s declaration that taming unexpected bills would be a top priority for his administration...

Feb 04, 2019

The top HHS official in charge of preventing substance abuse called for a grassroots effort to inform states of the long-term health risks of marijuana as more states pursue legalization.

Elinore McCance-Katz, assistance secretary for mental health and substance use within HHS, implored attendees at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's Prevention Day event to work with states on the health risks of marijuana. Katz, who heads up SAMHSA, said that marijuana...

Feb 04, 2019

New research finds one of the most successful moves to reduce the risk of prescription opioid abuse may have inadvertently led to a spike in hepatitis C infections, and potentially, healthcare costs.

The rate of hepatitis C infection in the U.S. had been relatively stagnant before 2010, according to a study published Monday in Health Affairs, even as the rate of death from prescription opioid overdose rose. That year, makers of the pain-reliever OxyContin changed the drug formula to...

Feb 04, 2019

Congressional leaders tasked with overseeing the Department of Veterans Affairs have demanded more detailed briefings about the roll-out of the expanded community care program due to launch in June and other major initiatives.

Senate VA Committee Chair Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and Ranking Member Jon Tester (D-Mont.) on Monday sent a bicameral, bipartisan letter demanding VA Secretary Robert Wilkie communicate frequently with Capitol Hill about the VA Mission Act's community care...

Feb 04, 2019

Colorado hospitals could have passed on savings to consumers of as much as $11.5 billion over a nine-year period if they had better contained costs and lowered their margins, according to a new state report.

The report seems to indicate the administration of Gov. Jared Polis will take an aggressive line against hospitals in trying to reduce what people pay for health care. It finds that hospitals charged higher and higher percentages to people with private insurance, even as their...

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