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Posts Tagged ‘Franklin Park’

What is Trump’s New Short-Term Health Insurance Order?

Tuesday, May 8th, 2018

Investopedia reports:

“On February 20, 2018, the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Labor and the Treasury released a proposed rule that would increase the length of coverage for short-term health insurance plans from three months to 364 days. They proposed this rule in response to an executive order President Trump issued in October 2017 telling these departments to propose regulations or guidance that would make this type of insurance more available in order to encourage consumer choice and provider competition in the health insurance market.


Obamacare enrollment starts Wednesday. Here’s what you need to know

Monday, October 30th, 2017

The Chicago Tribune reports:

“Choosing the right health insurance plan can be a cumbersome process, and this year’s political back-and-forth over Obamacare has made it seem even more confusing.


Land of Lincoln just 1 in long line of ACA health co-op failures

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

The Chicago Sun-Times reports:

“The state’s shutdown of its three-year-old Land of Lincoln Health was no surprise, observers say, coming amidst a nationwide trail of failures of nonprofit alternative insurers set up under the Affordable Care Act.

Those insurers faced many obstacles, but most important were two financial hits: the federal government’s reneging on hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies promised under ACA, while at the same time demanding the struggling startups pony up hundreds of millions in other contributions required under that law.


Canadian Health Care: Patients Waiting Longer Than Ever For Treatment

Monday, January 11th, 2016

Investors Business Daily Reports:

Socialist Medicine: Canadians love their hockey and have historically been happy with their government-run health care system. Hockey is thriving. The country’s health care system, though, is a wreck and getting worse.

It could be said the words “Canada” and “health care” really don’t go together because some Canadians never make it to the doctor.

Too many die untreated due to extended wait times to see a doctor, and those wait times have increased again this year. They are now almost twice as long as they were in 1993, the year Hillary Clinton tried to force government health care on Americans. (more…)

Is Blue Cross’ parent company too big, or not big enough?

Monday, July 13th, 2015

Crain’s Chicago Business reports:

“In health insurance, as in so many businesses, it helps to be big.

Larger insurers enjoy many advantages over smaller rivals. They have more clout in pricing negotiations with doctors and hospitals, greater economies of scale in back—office operations, broader customer bases that limit risk. “The bigger you are, the better off you are,” says analyst Vishnu Lekraj, who follows the health insurance industry at Chicago-based Morningstar.

Size has paid off for Health Care Service Corp. of Chicago. The owner of Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas is the nation’s sixth-biggest health insurer by market share. With dominant positions in all its markets, HCSC books more than $20 billion in revenue annually. HCSC’s deep pockets have helped it absorb cost pressures under Obamacare and capitalize on expansion opportunities created by health care reform.

Trouble is, “big” is a relative concept that changes over time. A company that’s large by today’s standards may not seem so big tomorrow.

Industry consolidation can raise the bar quickly, creating giants of unprecedented scale. Megamergers magnify the benefits of size to the detriment of companies that don’t keep pace. Goliaths are forming in the consumer products, technology and telecommunications industries, to name just a few. Sure, we’ve seen some corporate bust-ups, but many of the companies created in those transactions already have been scooped up by larger entities.

Now health insurance appears poised for consolidation: No. 5 Humana is looking for a buyer. A Humana acquisition could lead to more health insurance tie-ups, Lekraj says. If so, HCSC’s base of 15 million customers could start looking smaller.

The extent to which consolidation shifts the competitive balance against HCSC would depend on how much strength expanding rivals gain in local markets. Despite its enormous size, health care remains a largely local and regional business. Few hospital networks and doctors groups operate nationally.

This makes health insurance a local game, too. HCSC has played it exceptionally well, competing effectively with rivals more than twice its size. HCSC plans control anywhere from 50 to 70 percent of their individual markets.

Humana wouldn’t give a buyer the heft to match HCSC in any of those markets. Still, cost pressures have unleashed a consolidation trend that may eventually jump local boundaries. Hospital networks already are expanding across broader geographic areas, which eventually could lead to the formation of national chains. In the process, they’re acquiring physicians groups.

Leemore Dafny, an economist at Northwestern University who studies health care markets, says product capabilities matter, too. Humana, for example, is strong in Medicare Advantage plans, a sector that’s growing as more baby boomers qualify for Medicare. Dafny says an acquisition “could possibly create a more robust competitor to HCSC in the Medicare Advantage space.”

Of course, HCSC could respond with deals of its own. With an accumulated surplus of more than $10 billion, it has plenty of coin. And CEO Patricia Hemingway Hall has shown an appetite for acquisitions—she picked up Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Montana in 2013. A spokesman says HCSC doesn’t comment on possible deals.

Another advantage for HCSC is its status as a private company owned by policyholders. Unlike publicly traded competitors, it’s not subject to pressure from Wall Street analysts and activist investors who often push companies into mergers.

So Hall has plenty of options and can take her time. But the long-term imperative is clear: Keep HCSC big.

In New Hampshire, Chris Christie spells out entitlement reform plan

Monday, May 4th, 2015

CNN reports:

“Gov. Chris Christie attempted to position himself as the likely candidate most willing to take on entitlement reform when he delivered a 40-minute speech on the issue in New Hampshire on Tuesday.
The New Jersey Republican, who kicked off a four-day tour across the first-in-the-nation primary state, is applying his direct style to try to be a truth-teller who’s eager to take on uncomfortable topics like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.


Will Only Suckers Pay The ObamaCare Tax Penalty?

Friday, February 27th, 2015

Investor’s Business Daily reports:

“This year, as many as 6 million taxpayers will learn that they now owe a “Shared Responsibility Payment” because they didn’t have health insurance last year.

The SRP is a clumsy euphemism for the ObamaCare individual mandate tax penalty, which is $95 or 1% of household income, whichever is greater, for those who didn’t have insurance in 2014. That increases to the greater of $325 or 2% of income for those who don’t have insurance this year, and then to $695 or 2.5% of income the year after that.


The risk in rushing an Illinois health exchange

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

The Chicago Tribune reports:

“Tns of thousands of Illinois residents will sign up for coverage under Obamacare over the next few months. Many of them wouldn’t be able to afford the insurance without a federal subsidy to help pay the premiums.

Those subsidies, however, are in jeopardy because the Affordable Care Act was poorly, hastily written. The U.S. Supreme Court will decide next year whether the subsidies are legal in Illinois and many other states that use, the federal Obamacare website.


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