August 24, 2012 |
A multimillion-dollar settlement reached this week over alleged overpayments to a Medicare health plan in Long Beach highlights how vulnerable Medicare is to potential abuse even as changes are underway to shore up the massive government program. Medicare is already hemorrhaging an estimated $60 billion annually to fraud and improper payments, and some experts worry that the problem could worsen as government officials give medical providers and insurers more incentive to exaggerate - deliberately or accidentally - how sick some patients are to boost their profits.
August 20, 2012 |
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 Hartford, Conn., company and nation's third-largest health insurer said the Coventry deal will allow it to add more than 5 million new members, many of them in faster-growing Medicare Advantage and Medicaid managed-care plans. Other insurers have been striking similar deals as they seek to take advantage of Medicare's growth as more baby boomers retire and the federal healthcare law adds an estimated 15 million Americans to the Medicaid rolls starting in 2014.
August 16, 2012 |
GREER, S.C. - It has long been part of the foundation of Mitt Romney's case against President Obama: Federal spending is out of control and must be checked in order to revive the stalled U.S. economy. So the irony was hard to escape on Thursday when Romney blasted the president for cutting too deeply into one of the nation's biggest social programs. Shortly after his chartered plane landed here for the last stop on a two-day fundraising swing across the Deep South, the Republican presidential hopeful stepped before news cameras outside a private air terminal to offer new evidence for how wrong Obama was to slash $716 billion in Medicare spending.
May 4, 2012 |
Health Net Inc.shares plunged 25% as the Woodland Hills insurer posted disappointing first-quarter results and slashed its full-year profit outlook. The company surprised analysts and investors by disclosing an additional $67 million in medical claims that hadn't been reported in the fourth quarter because of errors in processing claims. Health Net said outside vendors that handle those claims for the company experienced problems with a new industrywide billing format. Health Net also cut its 2012 profit forecast to a range of $2.35 to $2.50 a share, excluding certain items.
February 13, 2012 |
The budget that President Obama unveiled Monday is, at its heart, a political document, laying out his priorities and, not incidentally, reflecting the strategy he plans to pursue in his reelection bid. It underscores Obama's hopes of turning the election into a choice -- as he sees it -- between a vision based on economic fairness and broad opportunity and Republican proposals that would hurt the neediest and further reward the already well-to-do....
October 25, 2011 |
Health insurer Cigna Corp. will buy HealthSpring Inc. for $3.8 billion to jump-start its business selling Medicare plans as more elderly Americans become eligible for the U.S. government program. Medicare is an enticing market for U.S. health insurers, even as Congress weighs cuts to the program to rein in the country's debt. In particular, the entry of the postwar baby boom generation into retirement is expected to swell the ranks of privately run Medicare Advantage plans, which account for 25% of Medicare enrollment, compared with 75% for government-run plans.
October 21, 2011 |
Consumers receive their fair share of sucker punches from big corporations. But this one's a real beauty. And it affects all California seniors with Medicare Advantage plans offered by Anthem Blue Cross. Melvin Salse, 71, of North Hollywood received a letter from the insurance giant recently stating that "it has been our pleasure to provide you with Medicare Advantage coverage. " Salse, a retired TV producer, was assured that he's "a valued member" of the company and that "we look forward to providing you with outstanding service for years to come.
November 29, 2010 |
Two years ago, Ruth Collins found herself in a quandary. The primary-care doctor she'd been seeing for 17 years was not covered by her Medicare Advantage plan, a private Medicare plan. Instead, her health insurer tried to send her to other physicians and the insurers wouldn't accept some charges by the provider. FOR THE RECORD: Medicare: An article in the Nov. 29 Health section on Medicare Advantage plans said that enrollees who wanted to shift back to original Medicare during open enrollment (Jan.