States To Have Big Role Helping Decide Insurer Mergers

Kaiser Health News
State-based regulators can likely modify — or altogether block — pending deals between big insurers Anthem and Cigna as well as Aetna and Humana. Elsewhere, Millennium Health’s bankruptcy plan clears a big hurdle, and an Ohio insurer decides to end commissions for some small group and individual insurance plans in Obamacare.

Modern Healthcare: States Hold Key Role In Big Insurer Mergers
The U.S. Justice Department’s antitrust probe of two massive proposed insurance mergers has dominated the spotlight as hospitals, doctors and lawmakers fret over the impact of allowing Anthem to absorb Cigna Corp. and Aetna to swallow Humana. But insurance regulators in most states also have a shot at derailing or modifying the deals and will spend the first half of 2016 crunching data and holding public hearings. (Schencker, 12/12)

The Wall Street Journal: Millennium Health Chapter 11 Plan Clears Crucial Hurdle
Millennium Health LLC’s chapter 11 plan cleared a major hurdle Friday when a bankruptcy judge brushed aside objections to the plan, which funds a $256 million settlement of fraud accusations with the Justice Department. Judge Laurie Selber Silverstein approved the bulk of a reorganization strategy designed as a fresh start for the drug-testing company. Millennium hasn’t admitted to civil charges that it fraudulently billed taxpayers. The judge withheld her signature while pondering the form of the order she is being asked to sign. (Brickley, 12/11)

The Cleveland Plain Dealer: HealthSpan Backs Away From Obamacare Plans; Dissolves Northeast Ohio Physicians Group
Cleveland-based insurer HealthSpan is disbanding its physicians network and has notified brokers it will stop paying commissions for small group and individual customers, citing concerns about its financial viability in those markets. The company, which insures 200,000 people statewide, also said it has laid off employees in its small group and individual sales units. The decision to back away from those markets raised alarms among local brokers who stand to lose commissions and assistance from HealthSpan in serving their clients. (Ross, 12/12)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

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