WellPoint Inc. Blog Posts

Will hospitals' higher facility fees survive health reform?

July 21, 2014
Comment(1)
One of the open secrets in health care is that hospitals are paid substantially more than independently owned health care facilities for the same procedures. But those higher fees are facing unprecedented pressure.
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Employees may rebel against Obamacare

July 7, 2014
Comments(8)
The economics of the Obamacare's exchanges are proving attractive to both employers and workers, but a new poll shows that workers still don't want to end up in them.
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How to judge Obamacare

June 30, 2014
Comments(7)
Health care and health insurance were a mess long before Obamacare—and on a path to getting messier. That makes it awfully difficult to figure out how much blame and credit to give the law as it plays out in the marketplace. Here's my approach.
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There will be blood

June 26, 2014
Comments(15)
A new study found that common blood tests performed by hospital-owned facilities in the Indianapolis area were six to nine times more expensive than the same tests at independent lab facilities. Ouch!
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The worries of a hospital CEO

June 16, 2014
Comments(7)
In a video presentation to his employees, Community Health CEO Bryan Mills discusses the threats hospitals face from retail clinics and employers—and how Community briefly discussed laying off 1,000 workers last year.
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Why Obamacare is likely to fail in Indiana (and most other states, too)

June 12, 2014
Comments(12)
New data show eight out of 10 Hoosiers with private health insurance are covered by employer plans that are exempt from most Obamacare rules. So, rather than being an invasive train wreck, Obamacare may fail because it doesn't affect enough people.
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Why are we so fat? Our food, health care are so cheap

June 2, 2014
Comments(19)
Two new studies show that Americans have every economic incentive to consume too much food and then, when that overeating creates health problems for them, to consume lots of health care to fix it.
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Rotten Teeth Report Card

May 28, 2014
Comments(7)
Indiana ranks 10th in the nation for the highest spending on health care and 10th in the nation for the number of adults missing six or more teeth. That’s not a coincidence. Hoosiers do a poor job of taking care of themselves, and we end up paying for it in higher taxes and health insurance premiums.
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Dropping health plan for Obamacare, this firm saved money but sacrificed choice

May 23, 2014
Comments(5)
RANAC Corp., a small firm in Indianapolis, cut its spending on health benefits 25 percent after dropping its group health plan. Could it be a sign of things to come?
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Time to eat crow and fix my error on Obamacare sign-ups

May 5, 2014
Comments(7)
When I predicted on March 13 that Obamacare would fail to expand individual private insurance coverage in Indiana, I was completely off. It now looks like an extra 30,000 Hoosiers have bought individual health insurance this year.
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What health care really needs is a full-meal deal

April 28, 2014
Comments(6)
Until doctors and hospitals make a whole lot more headway—or, perhaps, more accurately, are allowed to make more headway—in offering package deals, it’s hard to see major progress on containing out-of-control health care costs.
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Think Obamacare will help hospitals? Think again

April 25, 2014
Comments(5)

The typical hospital around the country will see its profits wiped out entirely by the changes coming from health reform and the aging of the population. But in Indianapolis, the hits will be cushioned by this region's fatter commercial reimbursements.

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In Indiana, everyone makes big profits on health care

April 21, 2014
Comments(13)
Indiana is the most profitable state for Indianapolis-based WellPoint Inc., which operates Blue Cross and Blue Shield health plans in 14 states. WellPoint's margin for Indiana in 2012 was 5.8 percent, 38 percent higher than WellPoint's national average.
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Indiana's 10 (or more) most profitable health insurers

April 17, 2014
Comments(6)
WellPoint's commanding market share gave it a whopping $129 million in profit from its risk-based insurance products in 2012. But in percentage terms, WellPoint was not at the top of the heap.
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Competition, not higher premiums, is biggest threat to Obamacare buyers

April 14, 2014
Comments(7)
For consumers that get tax subsidies in the Obamacare exchanges, out-of-pocket premiums will remain steady even if insurers raise prices next year. But the subsidies could fall if insurers offer lower-cost plans.
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Five things I learned from the Medicare doctor payments

April 10, 2014
Comments(11)
From this week's historic data dump, I learned who the top 20 recipients of Medicare payments are in Indianapolis (hint: mostly labs, ambulances and eye surgeons). But the real takeaway is that meaningful price information about doctors is still a long way away.
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Do double-digit Obamacare rate hikes mean the law has failed? No, but ...

March 31, 2014
Comments(16)
For now, at least, the year-to-year price increases of individual insurance under Obamacare look a lot like they did before Obamacare. That’s not a failure, but it’s not a success either.
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Can we, please, get a better name than 'accountable care'?

March 17, 2014
Comments(3)
Health care is going through dramatic change—but is doing so under some of the dullest names possible. So I'm offering a few alternatives that are more to the point. How about, 'No-more-bankruptcy care'?
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In one chart: Obamacare exchange has failed to expand coverage in Indiana

March 13, 2014
Comments(11)
For 2014, at least, Obamacare's dreams of expanding individual insurance coverage in Indiana have simply failed. There's no getting around it.
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Republicans needed to make Obamacare work

March 10, 2014
Comments(2)
Obama's latest delay of Obamacare insurance rules could sabotage the law's exchanges. The president must be counting on Republican critics, like Indiana Insurance Commissioner Stephen Robertson, to stop him.
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Health insurance brokers must change to survive

March 7, 2014
Comments(7)
Employees, rather than employers, will soon choose their own health insurers—either through the Obamacare exchanges or through private exchanges. Does that mean health insurance brokers, the people who match up employers with insurers, will no longer be needed?
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Indy hospitals, doctors should start a price war

February 28, 2014
Comment(1)
The choice for health care providers is binary: either limit patient choice through restricted networks or preserve patient choice by making price transparency real and usable. Hospitals and doctors would be better served by the latter.
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What happens if Pence, Sebelius can’t make a deal?

February 20, 2014
Comments(8)
Even if Gov. Mike Pence and Obama's health secretary can't come to terms this weekend, there are ideas bouncing around the state legislature that suggest other ways Indiana could expand coverage to low-income Hoosiers.
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The weightlessness of Obamacare

February 17, 2014
Comments(15)
Rich employer benefits are not always so attractive, sick patients are not always money losers for insurers, and hospitals and doctors are now health care preventers rather than health care providers. This is the bizarre world to which Obamacare has brought us.
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Hospitals' worries about Obamacare plans misplaced

February 14, 2014
Comments(0)

The latest enrollment data from the Obamacare exchanges show that three out of four Hoosiers are purchasing decent coverage—not the super high-deductible plans that concerned hospitals.

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