HCPro Health Plan Insider - July 22, 2009 | Marketing and Technology May Soon Play Bigger Roles in Health Insurance View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free
Marketing and Technology May Soon Play Bigger Roles in Health Insurance
Les Masterson, Senior Editor-Managed Care

In the near future, health insurers will need to create a platform that will allow insurers to promote products across various market segments. This technology will include a single location for prospective and current members to learn about product information and availability. [Read More]
  July 22, 2009

Editor's Picks
Health Net to sell Northeast operations to UnitedHealth
One of the biggest health insurers is getting bigger. UnitedHealth Group, Inc., plans to purchase Health Net Inc.'s Northeast U.S. health insurance operations for about $510 million. UnitedHealth will gain Health Net's 578,000 members in Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey. This year's operations are expected to generate about $2.7 billion in revenue. Health Net, which covers about 6.7 million people and recently lost a $2.8 billion annual military contract to Aetna Inc., said the UnitedHealth deal will allow Health Net to concentrate its efforts on health plans in the West. The deal is expected to close within 12 months, pending federal and state regulatory review. [Read More]
Pennsylvania's Blues to undergo unfair-trade inquiry
The Pennsylvania Insurance Department plans to investigate whether any of the state's four Blue Cross & Blue Shield insurance companies have engaged in "anticompetitive or unfair trade practices" that violate the law. The state will begin reviewing Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania, Capital BlueCross, Highmark Inc., and Independence Blue Cross this month and hopes to have the investigation completed in early 2010. The news comes months after Highmark and Independence withdrew a consolidation proposal after state officials raised concerns about the merger. State officials said the investigation will look at territorial restrictions and whether the Blues' market share impedes competition and results in an unfair advantage. [Read More]
If Health Reform is Approved, Many Federal and State Laws Will Need to Change
Federal healthcare reform legislation will affect numerous state laws and regulations that state leaders may have to change, according to a new report. Timothy Jost, professor of law at the Washington and Lee University School of Law in Lexington, VA, said Congress will have to not only resolve conflicts between new programs and existing federal law, but it also will need to consider how new federal initiatives will mesh with existing state law. [Read More]
AHIP Launches Health Reform Ad Campaign
The people who brought you Harry and Louise are back with another healthcare reform campaign. America's Health Insurance Plans launched its first health reform ad of the year on Monday, and this time without the acting duo. The new television ad promotes AHIP's reform agenda that includes maintaining the current employer-based system with universal coverage that is coupled with guaranteed coverage for pre-existing conditions, discontinued ratings based on health status or gender, and ensured continuity of care and portability of coverage. [Read More]
New Reports Take Drastically Different Views of Public Plan
The public plan is part of each of the current health reform bills, but there are still many who are concerned about what a public option would do to private insurers, physicians, and hospitals. Two recent reports took different stances about the possibility. While one report said the public plan would wipe out many California hospitals that are already struggling with low federal reimbursements, another study said a public option with a national insurance exchange could save healthcare between $156 billion and $315 billion per year between now and 2018. Expect more of these reports as the health care debate progresses this summer. [Read More]
Managed Care Headlines
White House less firm on date for healthcare bill
New York Times - July 20, 2009
Consumers Fear Universal Coverage Could Cause Healthcare Access Bottleneck
John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media - July 21, 2009
Individual Insurance Market Falls Short for Families
Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media - July 21, 2009
GOP focuses effort to kill health bills
Washington Post - July 21, 2009
Policyholders testify against Anthem Blue Cross rate increases
Hartford Courant - July 21, 2009
Ten questions on the healthcare overhaul
Wall Street Journal - July 21, 2009
HMO rates to jump 12% in 2010, Hewitt study projects
Chicago Tribune - July 16, 2009
Connecticut pushes ahead on healthcare
Hartford Courant - July 22, 2009
New York state, City pay $540 million to settle Medicaid case
Wall Street Journal - July 22, 2009

Webcasts/Audio conferences
On Demand: Service Line Strategies Workshop 2009: Spine Care
August 18: Advanced Service Line Marketing: New Orthopedics Growth Strategies
August 20: Service Lines Strategies Workshop 2009: Gastroenterology

Listen Up
Streamlining Payments

Robin Bugni, vice president of business innovation and development at Pittsburgh-based health insurer Highmark, Inc., speaks about how to implement real-time claims adjudication and estimation services. [Listen Now]
Health Forum
Medicare Advantage Cuts Wrong Prescription for Improving Healthcare Efficiency

In its diagnosis of what ails the U.S. healthcare system, the Obama administration is at great risk of making a costly mistake by proposing cuts to Medicare Advantage, which is a program that successfully addresses a core problem—the lack of coordinated care. [Read More]
From HealthLeaders Magazine
Special Needs Plans are Victims of Unintended Consequences

With Democrats in control, Medicare Advantage is facing more scrutiny and payment cuts, and some experts wonder how much longer private payers will stay in the program. But there is a subset of Medicare Advantage that helps the most vulnerable Medicare patients that has been largely ignored during the policy debates. [Read More]
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Resources From HCPro

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