Judge blocks Aetna-Humana merger

A judge blocked a potential $37 billion deal for the merger of large U.S. health insurers Aetna and Humana.  The Washington Post provides some explanation behind the judge’s logic: Bates wrote in his opinion that the proposed merger would have decreased competition substantially in the Medicare Advantage market in 364 counties. Aetna and Humana had argued…

VBID in TRICARE

Value-based insurance design looks to be expanding. As the American Journal of Managed Care reports: The bill calls for a pilot demonstrating the feasibility of incorporating VBID by “reducing co-payments or cost shares for targeted populations of covered beneficiaries in the receipt of high-value medications and services and the use of high-value providers” no later…

Are quality bonus payments based on hospital readmissions reliable?

Maybe not.  That is the answer from a study by Thompson et al. (2016).  Using data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) State Inpatient Databases (SID) for six states (AR, FL, IA, MA, NY,WA)  from 2011 to 2013, the authors measure hospital performance reliability for the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program (HRRP).  The define reliability as follows:…

Obamacare Death Spiral?

Health insurance premiums are projected to increase an astronomical 25% for plans in the health insurance exchanges. Some pundits claim that these increases represent that Obamacare is crumbling or in a death spiral. As premiums rise, healthy people flee the market. This leaves insurers with only more sick individuals which leads to premium increases. More…

Bad news for Obamacare?

Premiums are rising.  HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell stated: Building a new market is never easy,” she told the group at HHS headquarters. “We expect this to be a transition period for the marketplace. Issuers are adjusting their prices, bringing them in line with actual data on costs.” Burwell’s comments foreshadow the higher premiums expected when…