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.
More than 100,000 Minnesota residents will have to hunt around for a new health insurance provider, after Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota announced it’s taking a step back from offering health plans to individuals and families in the state as of 2017. [More]
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]
There’s perhaps nothing more annoying than rushing to answer a ringing phone than to find a robot on the other end. But when that robocall is coming in at three in the morning? That’s an annoyance 10,000 senior citizens went through when a Massachusetts health insurer said it accidentally robocalled customers between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. this week. [More]
Today, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear its fourth challenge to the five-year-old Affordable Care Act — and the second challenge involving the law’s requirement that employers provide insurance that includes coverage for female workers who choose to use birth control. [More]
Anthem Blue Cross Will Pay $8.3M To Customers To Settle Class-Action Suit Over Mid-Year Policy Changes
When you sign up for an insurance policy, you’re given a price for that plan for the year. So when California consumers discovered changes to their Anthem Blue Cross policies in the middle of the year that came with extra out-of-pocket costs, two policyholders filed a class-action lawsuit against the insurance provider in 2011. Anthem Blue Cross has now agreed to a settlement that includes reimbursing about 50,000 customers in California almost $8.3 million.
Most of us know which local hospitals and doctors are covered by our insurance providers, but even when we make sure that we only see an in-network physician or surgeon, nearly one-third of privately insured Americans are still hit with higher-than-expected medical bills, often because their in-network hospital brought in or contracted out to an out-of-network service provider. How did we get to the point where so many consumers have so little information about what to expect when their hospital bill arrives? [More]
For at least the fourth time this year, millions of consumers are being faced with some bad news: health insurer Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield has announced the discovery of a major data breach in their systems. Over 10 million subscribers to Excellus and their partner services now have their most personal information — including medical claims records and social security numbers — stolen. [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.
Walmart Worker Suing Retailer Claiming Its Previous Benefits Policy Discriminated Against Same-Sex Couples
A Walmart employee who married her wife before the company changed its policy to extend health insurance benefits to same-sex couples is now suing the retail giant, claiming it violated gender discrimination laws.
Two years ago, a Gallup survey estimated the percentage of adult Americans without health insurance at more than 17%. Even at the beginning of 2014, as the individual coverage mandate of the Affordable Care Act kicked, nearly 16% of Americans over the age of 18 were uninsured. The latest results from the polling organization currently put that rate at 11.4%, lower than any rate since Gallup began this survey in 2008. [More]
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.
Back in 2009, a then 17-year-old woman in California visited a Kaiser Permanente office because she was experiencing strange back pain. In the months that followed, she and her mother say they repeatedly requested an MRI but Kaiser doctors would only tell her to lose weight or get acupuncture treatments. All the while, a cancerous tumor was growing that would eventually result in the surgical removal of her right leg, and parts of her pelvis and spine. Believing Kaiser could have caught the cancer earlier if it hadn’t delayed the MRI, a jury has awarded the patient $28 million in damages. [More]
If you went without health insurance during 2014, you’re now facing a modest financial penalty of $95 or 1% of your income. Next year, that penalty will increase. All of this is news to some uninsured people. That’s why, as predicted, the federal government and some state exchanges are creating an extra open enrollment period to help these people out. [More]
2014 tax returns are the first ones that American taxpayers are filing since the health insurance subsidies, mandate, and penalties of the Affordable Care Act have come into effect. Included in our tax returns this year will be a penalty of 1% of income for people who don’t have health insurance that provides a minimum level of coverage. That penalty is taking some people by surprise. [More]
Most of us know that it could cost us everything we own if we go to a hospital that isn’t covered by our insurance plan. But what if you’re unconscious and have no say in the matter? That’s the case for a Wisconsin woman who owes $50,000 to a hospital that claims she should just pay up and be happy she’s still alive. [More]
The nation’s largest retailer and private employer has announced that it will discontinue offering health insurance to many part-time employees who work fewer than 30 hours a week, along with increasing the premiums by up to 20% for many workers who continue to receive benefits. [More]