February 15, 2024

Cigna To Start Stock Buyback

Cigna said it would repurchase $3.2 billion in stock as part of a repurchase of $5 billion of common stock over the first half of 2024. This will help enhance its stock price.  Cigna will get $3.7 billion for its Medicare Advantage sale to Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC) when it closes.

#cigna #hcsc

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New Bill To Establish “Essential Hospital” Designation

Lawmakers are sponsoring a bill that would designate about 1,000 hospitals as “essential health systems” under federal statute.  This would provide a vehicle to shelter these hospitals from negative programmatic decision (similar to critical access hospitals and sole community hospitals) as well as target new dollars for health equity and related initiatives. Hospitals would need to meet certain Medicare or Medicaid thresholds.

#hospitals #medicare #medicaid

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Capitol Hill Interest In AI Legislation But Little Progress

A good article on the interest by lawmakers in regulating AI.  At the same time, no real progress toward a bill has been made yet.

(Article may require a subscription.)

#ai #healthcare

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Insurers Using AI To Streamline Operations and Inform Members

A good article on insurers using AI to streamline operations and help educate associates as well as members. 

(Article may require a subscription.)

#ai #healthcare #healthplans

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CA Lightens Asset Rules To Allow Medicaid Enrollment

While I think asset transfer rules are not good for Medicaid, I am not unsympathetic to allowing greater asset flexibility for folks who need healthcare coverage. 


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NC Medicaid Expansion Enrollment On Target

A good enrollment process in North Carolina is occurring in the third month of Medicaid expansion.  Over 1,000 are being enrolled on average each day on pace to hit the 600,000 target. Congratulations.

#medicaid #nc

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Dual Eligibles Are An Opportunity For Insurers

Axios discusses a McKinsey report that says the growing dual eligible market in Medicare Advantage (MA) offers a unique opportunity for MA plans.

#dualeligibles #snps #medicareadvantage

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Implications Of Medicare Drug Price Negotiations

Good overview of the Inflation Reduction Act’s (IRA) Medicare drug price negotiations and its implications on various stakeholders.

#ira #drugpricing

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Guidance On Part D Cost-Sharing “Monthly Smoothing”

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced additional guidance on the so-called Medicare Part D cost-sharing smoothing, which allows enrollees to pay their estimated annual drug cost-sharing monthly (e.g., equal payments over 12 months).  The press release at the link has the various guidance so far. CMS continues to solicit input. 

At least one study has discussed the major complexity that could lead to confusion and potential bad decisions by people if they opt in to the “monthly smoothing”.  How to reconcile the smoothing with the new $2,000 annual cap on Part D costs is a big issue. Monthly smoothing starts in 2025.  The $2,000 annual cap starts in 2025 as well (it was lowered to $3,500 in 2024).

#pdp #medicareadvantage #partd

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— Marc S. Ryan

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