November 29, 2023

Cigna and Humana Exploring A Merger

Stunning news on the health plan front with speculation that Cigna and Humana are entertaining a merger.  This explains reports not too long ago that Cigna was thinking about giving up its Medicare Advantage (MA) line of business.  The merger seems like a match made in heaven.  Cigna is a commercial powerhouse, but its MA line is much smaller than Humana’s. Its MA line is struggling from a Star perspective. It sold its only Medicaid assets a few years ago. Humana is second only to United in MA and has a growing Medicaid line. Both plans have some provider assets as well. And Express Scripts, Cigna’s PBM and one of the nation’s big three, would be a huge asset for Humana. Humana has a subscale PBM asset.

Earlier mega mergers (Aetna-Humana and Cigna-Anthem) fell apart due to federal and state pushback and footprint overlaps.  Cigna would have to sell its MA line in some states, but otherwise this merger is much cleaner than the earlier ones. The feds may still attempt to stop it given the political climate on Capitol Hill.

One story at the Article link and two more here. (Some may require a subscription.):



#medicare advantage #commercial #medicaid #managedcare #mergers #healthplans

Link to Article

Trump Seeks To Clarify ACA Repeal Remarks

Donald Trump has now attempted to clarify his remarks on repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Over the weekend, Trump indicated that he was looking at alternatives for Obamacare, but added that the failure to repeal the ACA was a low point for the GOP in 2017.  Certainly sounds like he would repeal the ACA.  Trump attempted to temper his remarks by saying: “I don’t want to terminate Obamacare, I want to replace it with much better healthcare.” He added in a separate post: “Obamacare sucks!”

Hardly a clarification in my view and no details as usual. The clarification was made because Trump caught many Republicans by surprise with his remarks on an issue they would like to ignore. The Biden administration is attacking hard, including enlisting the help of former Speake Nancy Pelosi.

See articles at link and here: https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/4332756-trump-replace-obamacare-not-terminate-it/ and https://www.reuters.com/world/us/biden-campaign-taps-pelosi-obamacare-after-trump-threatens-health-law-2023-11-28/

(Some articles may require a subscription.)

#aca #trump #obamabcare #exchanges #medicaid

Link to Article

Government Shutdown Still Looms

Interesting article in The Hill describing how time is running out in the House to pass all appropriations bills to have leverage against the Senate when one of the CRs keeping government open runs out in mid-January.

#governmentshutdown #speakerjohnson

Link to Article

Healthcare Spending Growth To Be Down in 2024 But Still Explosive

A leading survey says healthcare costs will only rise by about 9.9% year over year in 2024, down from 10.7% in 2023. But that remains explosive and there is no sign of that stopping any time soon.  Inflation, overuse of medical services, poor health, and new drugs and technology are driving the growth.

#healthcare #healthinsurance #healthcarespending

Link to Article

Life Expectancy Rebounds A Little

Life expectancy has rebounded a bit in the United States, but two nagging issues remain – it is still below pre-pandemic levels and the U.S. trails developed countries and even some developing ones.

#healthcare #lifeexpectancy

Link to Article

Supplemental Benefits On Rise in Medicare Advantage

About 2,300 of the 5,800 Medicare Advantage products/plans, or 40%, are offering supplemental benefits in 2024, according to ATI Advisory. Such benefits are increasing but not as rapidly as we saw in the past.  Benefits are also very diverse. (Article may require subscription.)

#medicareadvantage #supplementalbenefits

Link to Article

Kaiser Family Foundation Issues Analysis on HCBS Waiting Lists

Home and community-based services (HCBS) through Medicaid are increasingly popular, but often are subjected to allowable waiting lists under the law. Almost 700,000 people are on waiting list as of 2023. Most are those with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Thirty-eight states use waiting list as of 2023.

Analysis is at link.  Press release here: https://www.kff.org/medicaid/press-release/waiting-for-care-three-fourths-of-states-have-waiting-lists-for-some-medicaid-home-care-programs/

#medicaid #hcbs

Link to Article

— Marc S. Ryan

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