Health Insurance Roundup, March 10, 2016

Irish Life to become ‘new force’ in health insurance after two acquisitions

Irish Life is set to become a major player in the health insurance market here after acquiring Aviva Health and buying out the the 51 per cent of GloHealth that it didn’t already own.

The will give the company, which is owned by Canadian financial giant Great-West Lifeco, more than 400,000 policyholders and make it the number three player in the market.

This move by Irish Life could be good news for consumers in Ireland. The company would be expected to compete aggressively with the two biggest players in the market – State-owned VHI and Laya Healthcare, which is owned by US insurer AIG – both in terms of pricing and product innovation. 

Pivot Health Fills Gaps in Coverage Caused by High Health Insurance Deductible | Business Wire

Pivot Health announces supplemental insurance packages that provide cash benefits to help consumers cope with the dramatic increase in high deductible health insurance plans. Coverage can be purchased online in five minutes or less, and provide immediate protection from unexpected accidents or a sudden critical illness diagnosis, while reducing costs for doctor consultations. 

The answer on health insurance mergers – just say no | TheHill

This week a hearing by the Antitrust Subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee will assess the state of antitrust enforcement.  One of the toughest questions the antitrust cops must address is what to do with the two mega-health insurance mergers – Anthem’s acquisition of Cigna and Aetna’s acquisition of Humana.  Although the Justice Department’s general approach is to approve mergers with cut and paste remedies, research has demonstrated that the typical divestitures won’t work here and do not meet the legal obligation to fully restore competition. 

Delaware health insurance deductibles are going up

What good is health insurance coverage if you can’t afford to actually use it?

Unfortunately, that’s not a rhetorical question. It’s one facing thousands of Delawareans who are required to purchase health insurance on the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges. As if rising premiums—which increased by an average of 22 percent in Delaware this year – weren’t already hard enough, skyrocketing deductibles have rendered many plans “all but useless,” according to a recent report in The New York Times.

And as a new analysis from my organization shows, it’s only getting worse.

While premiums are what it costs to have insurance, deductibles are what it costs to use it. Especially for low- and middle-income families, these out-of-pocket costs are placing affordable health care further out of reach. 

Bill passed in Virginia may help localities save money on health insurance | News |

The Virginia General Assembly on Tuesday passed a bill that may save localities money on health insurance for school, county and town employees.

Senator Ben Chafin’s (R-Russell) legislation, Senate Bill 364, will open the door for the creation of a new insurance pool for local governments and school divisions.

Unanimously approved by the House and the Senate, the bill gives the Viginia Department of Human Resource Management the authority to develop the pool,  which will likely be modeled after the state’s health insurance plan.

“Just like small businesses, many rural localities and school divisions have difficulties with higher insurance costs and premiums due to a smaller pool of employees,” Chafin said. “The new plan will give localities the option to pool their employees together in order to reduce insurance costs, creating more stability for the localities and their employees. It is fiscally conservative and cost effective to allow these localities to buy into the new plan rather than purchase their own smaller health insurance plan.” 

Families can have health insurance in 2 companies – Saudi Gazette

The Council of Cooperative Health Insurance (CCHI) has denied reports that members of the same family will not be allowed to have medical insurance in two different companies or that they will be prevented from traveling for this reason.

“There is no truth in these reports. We have not issued any new instructions concerning health insurance policy. We are not the party to ban travel,” council’s spokesman Yasser Al-Maarick told Al-Riyadh newspaper on Wednesday. He said the recent press reports to this effect were totally untrue.

He said that medical insurance companies are aware of the importance of issuing one insurance policy for employee and his dependents who are entitled to this service. This means that an employee and his wife and children should be on the same insurance policy, he explained. But there is nothing illegal or wrong in having medical insurance from two different companies. 

How Obamacare Makes Tax Filing Trickier |

This year, you may be receivingtax forms you’ve never seen before, all thanks to the Affordable Care Act, akaObamacare. For the most part, these documents won’t make tax filing too much harder—with one big exception. Here’s what you need to know about this paperwork, depending on what kind of health insurance you had in 2015. 

Aon Hewitt private health insurance exchanges attract more employers | Business Insurance

The number of employers participating in two Aon Hewitt private health insurance exchanges is continuing to increase.

This year, 55 employers with more than 1 million employees and dependents are participating in the Aon Active Health Exchange, Aon Hewitt said Tuesday. That compares with 33 employers with 850,000 employees and dependents who offered coverage through the exchange in 2015.

In addition, 75 employers with 400,000 covered lives are participating in an Aon Hewitt exchange for Medicare-eligible retirees this year, up from 50 employers and 350,000 covered lives in 2015.

“Our exchange solutions are delivering on their promise of greater choice and competition through a retail marketplace that allows consumers to better match their true health needs and coverage, while helping the organization meet business objectives,” said Mike Christie, senior vice president and head of exchange market strategy at Aon Hewitt in Chicago. 

Utah bill removes wait period on health insurance for immigrant children | Deseret News

Children of immigrants who enter the state and country legally and lawfully will no longer wait five years before becoming eligible for health insurance.

The Utah Legislature on Tuesday removed the waiting period as part of intent language filed with HB2, a bill that divvies out state funds but also clarifies how the money should be spent.

Utah is the 29th state to expand eligibility for lawfully residing immigrant children since 2009, when theChildren’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act gave states the option. The state ranks 47th in the nation for the high number of uninsured children, including a large percentage of immigrant children and kids from Hispanic households. 

Health Insurance Innovations Inc (HIIQ) Rating Lowered to Hold at Zacks Investment Research – Financial Market News

According to Zacks, “Health Insurance Innovations, Inc. operates as a developer and administrator of web-based individual health insurance plans and ancillary products. Its product portfolio consists of short-term medical plans, accident, sickness & hospital medical plans, ancillary insurance, life insurance, lifestyle and discount services. Health Insurance Innovations, Inc. is based in Tampa, Florida. “ 


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