WellPoint Inc. Blog Posts

Why small firms have been irate about health insurance

September 22, 2014
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For Indiana employers with fewer than 10 workers, health insurance premiums have risen 11.5 percent, on average, from 2001 to 2013. That ranked second-highest among all states.
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What if hospitals 'upcharged' you for being fat?

September 19, 2014
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As local hospitals try to offer package deals with upfront prices on joint replacement surgeries, they're struggling with the reality that patients' other health conditions can significantly increase their cost of care.
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Obamacare exchanges boosted coverage, premiums and spending in Indiana

September 15, 2014
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A new study finds that Obamacare boosted enrollment in Indiana's individual insurance market significantly over what it would have been without the law, but also caused premiums to spike.
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Patients, providers respond after Anthem promotes lower-cost MRI facilities

August 25, 2014
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Anthem patients in five U.S. cities, including Indianapolis, spent $220 less per MRI scan after Anthem told them of lower-cost facilities. In response, hospital-owned MRI facilities cut their prices.
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Small employers dumping plans faster than expected, WellPoint says

August 4, 2014
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WellPoint saw 218,000 members of its health plans disappear because their employers ended their group plans. Other insurers, however, say small employers are ending their plans more slowly than expected.
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Should IU Health pursue a strategy of mediocrity?

July 31, 2014
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Indiana University Health fell off U.S. News' honor roll of the nation’s top 1 percent of hospitals. Because of Obamacare and other trends, perhaps IU Health should be happy about that.
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If courts gut Obamacare, Pence will face tough choice

July 24, 2014
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If this week’s D.C. appeals court ruling stands up—declaring the Obamacare tax subsidies illegal in Indiana and most other states—Gov. Mike Pence could face significant pressure, even from traditional Republican supporters, to keep the tax credits flowing.
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Will hospitals' higher facility fees survive health reform?

July 21, 2014
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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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