Four Insurance Carriers Hit Big Profits Compared To A Year Ago

Part of the reason is patients putting off care during the pandemic. Industry news looks at mergers, lawsuits, ethics, and surprise medical bills, as well.

Dallas Morning News:
Profiteering? Health Insurers Bank Big Profits During COVID-19 And Still Raise Rates For Next Year

Health insurance companies are racking up big profits during the pandemic, sometimes two to three times higher than a year ago. That’s largely because so many customers are putting off their usual care. Elective surgeries, office visits and even trips to the emergency room have dropped sharply, which means fewer claims on insurance plans.Four insurers — UnitedHealthcare, Anthem, CVS Health and Humana — together reported almost $10 billion in profit growth for the second quarter. Collectively, their operating income rose 152%. (Schnurman, 8/21)

Crain’s New York Business:
Health Insurer Oscar Partners With Holy Cross Health, Memorial Healthcare To Launch Medicare Plan In Florida

Health insurance company Oscar on Wednesday announced its partnership with Holy Cross Health hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Memorial Healthcare System in Hollywood, Fla., to launch a co-branded Medicare Advantage plan in South Florida.Pending approval, Oscar will be able to start marketing the plan Oct. 1 and selling it Oct. 15, said Ananth Lalithakumar, vice president and general manager of Medicare Advantage at Oscar. He declined to disclose the projected reach of the new plan but noted that some of its competitors in the Medicare space have about 60,000 to 70,000 members. (Sim, 8/21)

Modern Healthcare:
Appeals Court Slashes Epic’s $420 Million Damages In Trade Secrets Case

A federal appeals court on Thursday trimmed down Epic Systems Corp.’s win in a trade secrets lawsuit against Indian information-technology services and consulting firm Tata Consultancy Services. While Epic initially scored $940 million in compensatory and punitive damages in 2016, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tata shouldn’t have to pay $280 million in punitive damages, calling it “constitutionally excessive.” (Cohen, 8/21)

Boston Globe:
It’s Not Just Nabel: Why Boston’s Hospital CEOs Don’t Belong On Corporate Boards

It’s time for the executives who run some of Boston’s elite hospitals to be weaned off the cushy money they make moonlighting as board directors for corporate America. You can understand the appeal of sitting on an outside board. Public companies paid directors a median of $208,000 in cash and stock in 2018, according to the most recent compensation survey by the National Association of Corporate Directors and consultants Pearl Meyer & Partners. Some companies dole out more than $400,000 a year. That’s for 25 days or so of work a year. (Edelman, 8/21)

Kaiser Health News:
‘An Arm And A Leg’: How To Fight Bogus Medical Bills Like A Bulldog 

After Izzy Benasso had knee surgery, she and her dad received a letter from a surgical assistant giving notice that he “had been present” at the procedure. The surgical assistant was out-of-network and seemed to be laying the groundwork to get the Benassos to pay his fee. Steve Benasso wrote a letter right back, basically telling the guy to buzz off: He had no intention of paying the surgical assistant. Because the bill was a surprise, Benasso suggested that the surgical assistant try to get the money from the insurance company, or negotiate for some part of the knee surgeon’s payment. (Weissmann, 8/24)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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