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BUSINESS
January 17, 2010 | David Lazarus
Los Angeles resident Stacey Owens found out after a recent doctor's visit that her health insurer, Aetna, had canceled her coverage, ostensibly because she'd missed a monthly payment. Never mind the heartlessness of leaving people uninsured because of something as potentially trivial as a misplaced bill. No, the problem in this case is that Owens, 25, never missed a payment -- and she has the bank records to prove it. Yet when she confronted Aetna with what clearly appeared to be a clerical error on the company's part, Owens said, the insurer dug in its heels and refused to reinstate her coverage.
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OPINION
October 27, 2013
Re "Getting a clue about flu shots," Column, Oct. 25 Similar to David Lazarus, I went to my local CVS last week for a flu shot and was told that it was not covered by my insurance. Because my insurance policy is a new one, I agreed and paid $31.99 for my shot (my husband, on Medicare, got his for free). After reading Lazarus' column, I called my insurance company, Aetna, and was told that flu shots were absolutely covered at CVS and most other pharmacies under my plan, and that I shouldn't have been charged anything.
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BUSINESS
August 20, 2012 | By Chad Terhune, Los Angeles Times
Health insurance giant Aetna Inc., trying to capitalize on growing enrollment in Medicare and Medicaid, has agreed to acquire Coventry Health Care Inc. for about $5.7 billion in cash and stock. The nation's third-largest health insurer, based in Hartford, Conn., said the Coventry deal will enable it to add more than 5 million new members, many of them in faster-growing Medicare Advantage and Medicaid managed-care plans. Federal and state officials are increasingly turning to private insurers to run government-financed health programs in hopes they can better control rising medical costs.
BUSINESS
October 17, 2013 | David Lazarus
There is perhaps no better metaphor for the painful relationship between patients and our for-profit healthcare system than the fact that Anthem Blue Cross thinks you don't need anesthesia for a colonoscopy. It's not "medically necessary," the insurer says. Anyone who has experienced this most invasive of medical procedures might think otherwise. I spoke the other day with a fellow named Michael, who works locally in the TV industry but didn't want me using his full name because he's terrified that Anthem will retaliate by messing with his coverage (and it says a lot about our system that this is even a consideration)
NEWS
June 18, 2013 | By Jon Healey
The closer we get to full implementation of the 2010 healthcare law, the more visible its effects become. The latest example is Aetna's decision to drop out of the market for individual health insurance policies in California, which will force almost 70,000 people in the state to find a new insurer. Critics of the law will probably characterize this development as yet more proof of the hollowness of President Obama's promise that "if you like your healthcare plan, you can keep your healthcare plan.
BUSINESS
February 29, 2008 | From Times Wire Services
Aetna Inc., the third largest U.S. health insurer, will delay plans to end payments to anesthesiologists for some colonoscopies after doctors said the move could hurt patients and discourage cancer testing. The policy was to take effect April 1, the Hartford, Conn., company said. It will be held off until "patient-friendly alternatives" are approved by U.S. drug regulators, Aetna said.
BUSINESS
May 31, 2013 | David Lazarus
Consumers have been told by insurers again and again that if they want cheaper prices for prescription drugs, they need to order them in bulk from mail-order pharmacies. And typically, it works out that way. Sometimes, however, the prices reveal how screwy our healthcare system is - and what a challenge it can be to get a straight answer about medical costs. Jeff Zoldos, 61, had such an experience after his employer switched his coverage to Aetna at the beginning of the year.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 16, 1999
Columnist Ken Reich misrepresented my views in a recent column ("Verdict Against Aetna Is an Omen of Clash Over HMOs," Jan. 28). I in no way intended to denigrate or minimize Teresa Goodrich's very real pain at her husband's untimely death, and I regret choosing words that suggest otherwise. However, I specifically stated my faith in the ultimate fairness of the American justice system, contrary to Reich's interpretation of my views. My comments reflect my frustration with the way Aetna was unfairly portrayed and the simple truth that the San Bernardino jury did not hear all the facts.
BUSINESS
August 30, 2012 | By Chad Terhune, Los Angeles Times
Two healthcare heavyweights are exchanging sharper blows and more patients may be caught in the middle of this fight over medical payments. This week, the California Medical Assn., the largest physician group in the state with 35,000 members, accused health insurance giant Aetna Inc. of refusing to negotiate with member doctors or kicking physicians out of its insurance network as retaliation for a lawsuit filed last month. As a result, the association said, Aetna may be limiting patients' access to their regular doctors.
BUSINESS
July 4, 2012 | By Chad Terhune, Los Angeles Times
The California Medical Assn., the largest physician group in the state, and more than 60 individual doctors sued health insurance giant Aetna Inc. as part of a growing legal battle over what patients are charged when they go outside an insurer's network. Three county medical groups, four surgery centers and an unidentified patient joined them in filing suit in Los Angeles County Superior Court against Aetna, the nation's third-largest health insurer with about 18 million members nationwide.
BUSINESS
June 19, 2013 | By Chad Terhune, Los Angeles Times
Facing tougher price competition from a state-run marketplace, Aetna Inc. said it would exit California's individual health insurance market by year-end and leave nearly 50,000 customers searching for new coverage. Aetna, the nation's third-largest health insurer, will maintain a major presence in California with a focus on large and small employers. But the move reflects how the federal healthcare law and its rollout in different states is rapidly reshaping the health insurance landscape for millions of consumers.
NEWS
June 18, 2013 | By Jon Healey
The closer we get to full implementation of the 2010 healthcare law, the more visible its effects become. The latest example is Aetna's decision to drop out of the market for individual health insurance policies in California, which will force almost 70,000 people in the state to find a new insurer. Critics of the law will probably characterize this development as yet more proof of the hollowness of President Obama's promise that "if you like your healthcare plan, you can keep your healthcare plan.
BUSINESS
May 31, 2013 | David Lazarus
Consumers have been told by insurers again and again that if they want cheaper prices for prescription drugs, they need to order them in bulk from mail-order pharmacies. And typically, it works out that way. Sometimes, however, the prices reveal how screwy our healthcare system is - and what a challenge it can be to get a straight answer about medical costs. Jeff Zoldos, 61, had such an experience after his employer switched his coverage to Aetna at the beginning of the year.
BUSINESS
May 22, 2013 | By Chad Terhune, Los Angeles Times
Some prominent health insurers, including industry giant UnitedHealth Group Inc., are not participating in California's new state-run health insurance market, possibly limiting the number of choices for millions of consumers. UnitedHealth, the nation's largest private insurer, Aetna Inc. and Cigna Corp. are sitting out the first year of Covered California, the state's insurance exchange and a key testing ground nationally for a massive coverage expansion under the federal healthcare law. Meanwhile, the biggest insurers in the state - Kaiser Permanente, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of California - are all expected to participate in the state-run market for individual health coverage.
BUSINESS
March 6, 2013 | By Chad Terhune, Los Angeles Times
Despite objections from regulators, health insurers Blue Shield of California and Aetna Inc. are proceeding with double-digit rate increases that state officials said were unreasonable. Officials at the California Department of Managed Health Care said increases that average more than 11% for about 47,000 individual and small-business policyholders of Blue Shield and Aetna were unreasonable. But state officials don't have the authority to reject changes in premiums, and increasingly health insurers refuse state demands to lower rates.
BUSINESS
November 7, 2012 | By Chad Terhune
Shares of insurance giant WellPoint Inc. and its major rivals fell after President Obama won reelection and his landmark healthcare law cleared a major hurdle to full implementation. WellPoint, the nation's second-largest health insurer, reported a 1% increase in third-quarter profit Wednesday, topping Wall Street expectations. But its shares tumbled $3.23, or 5.3%, to $57.97 in midday trading Wednesday. Other insurers slipped as well. Shares of UnitedHealth Group Inc. and Aetna Inc. both declined by about 4% in midday trading.
BUSINESS
June 25, 2010 | By Duke Helfand, Los Angeles Times
A second insurance company in California has killed plans for double-digit rate hikes for individual policyholders because of errors in its filing that would have inflated premiums, state regulators said Thursday. Connecticut-based Aetna Inc. had sought an average 19% increase in rates for its 65,000 individual customers, but pulled back after multiple math errors in its paperwork were found by its own staff and by an independent consultant working for the state. Aetna's decision follows a similar move by Anthem Blue Cross, which canceled a rate increase of as much as 39% for many of its 800,000 California policyholders in April after the state consultant found calculation errors in its filing with the California Insurance Department.
BUSINESS
September 18, 2012 | David Lazarus
It would be so easy for health insurers to avoid ill will if they'd just listen to what customers are saying and do their best to respond in a reasonable fashion. Unfortunately, that's just not how the industry seems to be programmed. Kevin Roberts, 36, has been battling insurance-industry insensitivity since last year on behalf of his 6-year-old daughter, Aubrey, who has autism. What should have been a relatively simple matter has ballooned into complaints to the California Department of Managed Health Care, failed attempts at arbitration and a seeming reluctance on the part of Roberts' insurer, Aetna, to simply sit down and hash things out. "We're basically in limbo," Roberts told me. "All we've wanted is for them to take care of treatment that's covered by our insurance policy.
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