The rumor mill yesterday has been borne out today, as the Department of Justice has officially filed a pair of lawsuits to block the mega-mergers of health insurers Anthem and Cigna.
We closed out 2015 with the health insurance market poised to get a lot smaller, as Anthem proposed to by Cigna and Aetna said it would buy Humana. If both mergers go through, the number of large nationwide health insurance carriers would drop to just three… a big challenge in a U.S. that’s seen the market for health insurance expand since the Affordable Care Act went into effect. And if reports are true, the Justice Department may feel that’s just too much contraction.
Just like a 401k, health insurance, and other benefits, more and more companies are offering to pay for employees’ college education — or at least part of it — as a way to keep them on the payroll. Joining the increasingly growing list that includes Pizza Hut, Starbucks, Anthem Insurance, and Fiat Chrysler, JetBlue announced today that it would offer crewmembers a program to obtain a college degree. [More]
What a difference a month makes: Just a few weeks ago, Cigna rejected Anthem as a suitor, citing things like the major data breach the company suffered earlier this year and turning down its $47 billion merger bid. It seems Anthem has been busy a-courtin’, as the company announced this morning that it’s reached a deal to buy Cigna for $54 billion, effectively creating an insurance giant.
After Anthem Inc. unveiled its roughly $47 billion bid to merge with fellow health insurer Cigna Corp. over the weekend, the object of its affections swiftly put the kibosh on that proposal. In a letter to Anthem’s board, Cigna said it was “deeply disappointed” with its suitors recent actions, and that the offer wasn’t in the best interest of shareholders.
Anthem Says Data From As Far Back As 2004 Exposed During Hack, Offering Free Identity Theft Protection
A week after health insurer Anthem announced that it was the latest victim of a security breach, the company revealed that hackers had access to tens of millions of customers’ data going back as far as 2004. [More]
Any data breach is bad, but the more personal they are — and the more widespread — the worse. And by both metrics, the hack just announced by major health insurer Anthem is particularly terrible.
Anthem Blue Cross, the largest for-profit health insurance in California, will soon require that patients with some conditions can only get their prescriptions through a single mail-order pharmacy. However, some state officials think this could be against the law. [More]
There’s a 2-year-old in New Jersey whose cerebral palsy makes it impossible for him to walk or even sit up without support. But according to the computers at Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, he should give a cane a try before Anthem forks over the cash for a wheelchair.
Wellbutrin is an atypical antidepressant used to treat patients with depression, but it’s also effective when used short-term to help people quit smoking. As far as Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield is concerned, then, if you’re using Wellbutrin, you’re a smoker. For people whose health insurance comes from their employers, this isn’t as much of a problem. But the individual health insurance market is a cruel, unforgiving place where smokers pay higher premiums. And so reader Elizabeth’s husband, who quit smoking more than four years ago, is slapped with the smoker’s rate because he has a prescription for Wellbutrin, which they consider an “atypical tobacco product.”
Andrea has been a customer with Anthem since 1995, paying her bill all the time and never submitting any claims. So you can see why they canceled her coverage.
By the time the couple in their 80’s noticed the monthly auto-billing on their bank account, they had overpaid Anthem $5,000 for insurance they thought they had canceled two years ago. That’s money these two living on pension could have been using to fix their crumbling front walkway. It was until they beseeched their local consumer reporter and he took an interest in their story did Anthem retroactively cancel their policy and refund their money.
Last June, when the American Medical Association announced its finding that nearly one out of every five health insurance claims had been processed incorrectly, it had probably hoped it was giving the insurance biz a much needed kick in the pants. But one year and another AMA report card later, that statistic remains virtually unchanged.
Last week, we told you how Anthem Blue Cross of California had decided it no longer wants to take credit card payments and will soon start charging $15 “convenience” fees for those still wishing to pay by plastic. But now that the California Attorney General is looking into the matter, Anthem has put that plan on hold.
Let’s hope no one gets hurt during this shootout between two health care hellions, because there’s a good chance they’ll deny themselves coverage.
The health insurance industry is generally known for its efficiency, generosity and — of course — for its customer-first attitude. That’s why it comes as such a shock that several of the more beloved insurance institutions like Wellpoint, Aetna, Cigna and United Healthcare have decided to stop selling you insurance policies for your sick children.
Nearly five months ago, Anthem Blue Cross of California and parent company WellPoint put their names in the running for Biggest Dickheads of 2010 by trying to raise rates upward of 39% for individual policyholders, a move that put the entire insurance industry under the legal and legislative microscope. In a move to seem like only a huge dickface, the insurance giant announced yesterday that it’s now proposing less grandiose rate increases.