Will the Urge to Merge Help Healthcare?

Businessmen connect puzzle lamp. Joint efforts, success, union, idea. Vector illustration Eps 10 file. Success Cooperation

The announcement this week that CVS would be acquiring Aetna is the latest effort to remake U.S. healthcare. Costs are still spiraling upwards at an unsustainable rate and try as we can, inertia makes efficiency and cost reduction battles difficult to win. “Bigger” hasn’t done much to reduce costs. The health insurance market is down to… [Read More]

Cost-Control Over Risk: More Employers Embrace Self-Insurance


More and more employers are embracing self-insurance; according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, more than 80% of companies with 500 or more employees have self-insured plans. That’s astounding in the context of historic statistics which showed that only the largest employers used this funding mechanism. And since new products from traditional… [Read More]

Is “Medicaid-for-All” Possible?


The ACA exchange rates continue to increase as we witness Nebraska up 35%, Connecticut up almost 25%, and Florida seeing a 19% rise in costs. And now, researchers are showing that these higher costs will change the risk profile on the exchanges. A recent study by the Society of Actuaries reported that average risk scores… [Read More]

Transformation Takes Time

Change Ahead

This week I attended the Aetna National Broker Advisory Council meeting. This event is always a very interesting opportunity for some of the most knowledgeable brokers in the country to meet with Aetna’s senior leadership team. Two way communication is very strong, and it gives us the opportunity to provide constructive feedback on what is working in… [Read More]

Health Insurer Merger Mania

Health Insurer Merger Mania

It’s official – Anthem, the Blue Cross franchise aggregator, will be acquiring Cigna for $54 billion, which would make them the largest health insurer. Earlier this month, Aetna Inc. agreed to buy Humana Inc. for $37 billion, and Centene Corp. announced it would acquire Health Net Inc. for $6.3 billion. My father used to say,… [Read More]

Exchanges Draw Crowds…but the Big Names Sit It Out


From coast to coast, the new normal in healthcare was revealed on October 1. On that date Americans, if they could log on (and let’s assume they will eventually be able to—although some are still skeptical), learned the cost and benefits of the metal plans in each market. And we are hearing a big backslap… [Read More]

Bertolini: Major Change Is Inevitable


I always enjoy listening to Mark Bertolini, the CEO of Aetna, speak. He has thought-provoking ideas, great insight and the organizational clout to impact our economy. Here’s why Mark thinks things have to change. Costs are escalating rapidly. It is clear that the shift to high-deductible plans will be swift—but even this shift won’t be… [Read More]

Aetna Leaders Predict Further Integration of Core and Voluntary Benefits


I have just spent a couple of days at the Aetna National Broker Advisory meeting, on which I have served for many years.  I always enjoy these meetings because they bring focus to market changes that are obvious to me, but may not be so clear to employers.  The voluntary products space represents this shift…. [Read More]

Self-Insurance Finds a New Market


Self-insurance is not just for the big guys anymore. Taking its lead from the large employer, smaller employers are increasingly evaluating the benefits of incorporating a self-insurance model into their business strategy. And insurers such as Aetna, CIGNA and United Healthcare are responding to the need by bringing their existing products down market to them…. [Read More]

Three Ways to Improve Next Year’s Open Enrollment


OE is not one size fits all. Now that open enrollment season has passed, it’s good to take a deep breath and look back at the past year to see what went well, and how we can do better next time. We still find that many groups struggle with key aspects of the open enrollment… [Read More]