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.
If a drug maker says their new prescription medication will reduce cholesterol by a certain percentage, or that it will counter symptoms of some chronic illness, but it doesn’t quite live up to its marketing, should the insurance companies still pay the price they originally agreed to? A growing number of insurers are making deals that tie the price of a drug to its real-world performance. [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.
Two decades ago, a man in New Jersey had a job that included a life insurance benefit. When he left that job, he was able to keep that policy if he continued to pay all the premiums on his own, which he did for 18 years. So why did the insurance company refuse to pay this man’s widow after he passed away? Hint: It rhymes with stupidity. [More]
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.
The showdown over skyrocketing insurance rates in California got even nastier yesterday. The state’s Attorney General’s office announced that it has subpoenaed financial documents and launched an investigation into allegations of illegal premium hikes and wrongfully denied claims by seven separate health insurance providers.
CNN reports on insurance industry whistle-blower Wendall Potter who, after working in the machine for 20 years, quit in order to right a few wrongs. Last week, Potter testified before the Senate about former employer Cigna’s policy of “purging.” In other words, Cigna would drive small businesses with expensive insurance claims to dump their Cigna policies.
Remember last December when Cigna delayed approval of a liver transplant for a leukemia patient and she died? The girl’s family has filed a lawsuit against the insurance giant.
The lawyer for the family whose daughter died after CIGNA declined to pay for her liver transplant said that he will urge the DA’s office to press manslaughter charges against CIGNA for having “maliciously killed her.” [AP]
CIGNA denied a girl’s liver transplant, saying it was “experimental,” then changed it’s mind after 150 family, friends, and nurses association members protested outside CIGNA headquarters. But the reversal was too late, Natalee Sarkisian, 17, died last night at UCLA medical center. The insurance company had initially agreed to pay for the liver transplant, but then after Natalee developed a lung infection, then got a bone marrow transplant from her brother, delayed, and then denied coverage, the family says. She was in a vegetative state, battling leukemia. In an email sent out shortly before Natalee died, the insurance company wrote, ” … CIGNA HealthCare has decided to make an exception in this rare and unusual case and we will provide coverage should she proceed with the requested liver transplant.” Score another one for the bean counters.
Ahhh, the second of the insurance stories has trickled in and it’s a rip-roaring doozy.