Noteworthy News from Across the Nation
Subpoenas to Treasury after Administration Denied Repeated Requests for Information
Fred Upton (R-MI), House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman, and Kevin Brady (R-TX), House Ways and Means Committee chairman issued subpoenas to Jack Lew, Secretary of the Treasury. In addition, three officials with the IRS also received subpoenas. The subpoenas were sent after repeated requests for information for documents relating to $5 billion in subsidies paid to insurance companies without congressional legal appropriation were ignored for the past year. Secretary Sylvia Burwell with the Health and Human Services Department agreed to provide a briefing on the matter granting a short-term stay on an HHS subpoena.
California Regulators Review of Mergers
Three pending mergers of health insurance companies are under review in California and some regulators are afraid higher premiums and less competition would be the result if the deals are approved. Anthem’s purchase of Cigna for $52 billion, Aetna’s acquisition of Humana for $37 billion, and Centene’s purchase of Health Net for $7 billion all require approval from the Department of Managed Health Care. Additional approval from the state insurance department is needed by Centene. Additional approval from states around the nation will also be required since the companies do business on a national basis.
Costs Names as Reason Texan’s Uninsured Aren’t Buying It
According to the Baker Institute for Public Policy and the Episcopal Health Foundation, Baker Institute for Public Policy and the Episcopal Health Foundation (EHF). nearly 70% of uninsured adults in Texas did not purchase qualified health insurance coverage due to cost. This reason was given across lines of income, race, and ethnicity. The youngest group (ages 18-30) and older adults (aged 50-64) were at 75% for those who cited cost as a factor. Younger Americans have less income despite lower costs for insurance, while older people face overall higher rates.
ALASKA & OREGON
Moda Health Plan Suspended
Moda Health Plan has been suspended from issuing new and renewal policies in Alaska and Oregon as of January 28, 2016 due to concerns with the company’s financial condition including their “excessive operating losses and inadequate capital and surplus.” This was according to the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services department director, Patrick Allen. Moda currently has 244,000 combined enrollees in Oregon including individuals, and group coverage. In Alaska that number is 17,500 enrollees who may be affected. Moda must provide the insurance department with an acceptable business plan demonstrating that they are able to meet current and future obligations. If not, enrollees will be forced to find new coverage at renewal.