Health Insurance

Obama's call ignites local health care debatesRestricted Content

January 5, 2009
J.K. Wall
When President-elect Barack Obama called for community discussions of health care reform, about 250 people in Indianapolis answered. Their answer rang loud with individual complaints, a surprising number of calls for national health insurance and some doubt that their comments would actually shape Obama's policymaking.
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WellPoint could grow during tough time for health insurersRestricted Content

November 24, 2008
The health insurance industry — hurt by falling profits and threatened by Democratic reform bills — could see another wave of consolidation, and that may well involve Indianapolis-based WellPoint Inc.
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New health plans will cost more laterRestricted Content

November 17, 2008
Consumer-driven health plans will lead to greater medical expenses later because people avoid going to the doctor now.
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Hoosiers need greater access to quality health careRestricted Content

November 10, 2008
Morton Marcus
Indiana's economic woes are long standing and may be having an adverse effect on the health of our people, because Hoosiers can't consistently gain access to excellent health care.
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Executives must stress wellness program benefits consistentlyRestricted Content

November 10, 2008
Health care benefits that promote wellness should be an ongoing executive suite focus, not simply an annual budget concern.
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St. Francis Hospitals, Anthem disagree over health insurance reimbursementsRestricted Content

November 10, 2008
The St. Francis hospital system and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Indiana are haggling over insurance reimbursement costs. The original demand of Sisters of St. Francis Health Services Inc. would have increased reimbursement amounts $80 million over three years, Rick Rhodes, an Anthem regional vice president, wrote in an Oct. 30 letter to employers covered by Anthem. The increase would mean $12 million more in out-of-pocket costs to Anthem customers. But St. Francis claims its request for an increase only brings it in line with what other hospitals are getting.
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OneAmerica well positioned to acquire other insurance companiesRestricted Content

November 3, 2008
J.K. Wall
OneAmerica Financial Partners Inc. has made no secret of its desire to acquire other companies. Well, if it wants to buy, it could hardly find a better time.
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Study says consumerism cuts costsRestricted Content

November 3, 2008
Consumer-directed health plans really work, at least according to WellPoint Inc., which has made a big push to sell them recently.
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WellPoint, St. Francis battle over insurer's IT problemsRestricted Content

October 20, 2008
J.K. Wall

A year of computer snafus boiled over Oct. 13 when the St. Francis system declared WellPoint Inc. in breach of its contract because of habitually late payments.


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Rooney's death spawns uncertainty for struggling insurance company, not-for-profitRestricted Content

October 6, 2008
J.K. Wall

After the unexpected death of insurance magnate J. Patrick Rooney, two organizations he led until the day he died are scrambling to figure out who will lead them into the future.


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WellPoint pushes sales force to market life, dental, visionRestricted Content

September 22, 2008
J.K. Wall

WellPoint Inc. touts as the company's biggest strength its dominant market share in its health insurance markets. But now the officers of the company are working to branch out beyond health insurance. They're training their sales force on how to better sell dental, vision and even life and disability insurance--which WellPoint refers to as its specialty group of products.


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Ex-WellPoint VP sues, says he was axed for testifying in drug caseRestricted Content

August 18, 2008
J.K. Wall

WellPoint Inc. prides itself on working to hold down the rising cost of health care. But to hear one of its former vice presidents tell it, the company retaliated against him when he worked to do just that. In a lawsuit against WellPoint, Dr. Randy Axelrod claims his former employer forced him out when he tried to curtail a drugmaker's controversial pricing strategy that was costing WellPoint money.


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WellPoint expected to look for growth overseasRestricted Content

July 28, 2008
J.K. Wall
WellPoint Inc., the most dominant health insurer in the United States, registers as barely a pipsqueak in the rest of the world. But it's only a matter of time, say industry experts, before WellPoint plunges into foreign markets to grow sales of its health benefits and services.
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Janitors want Lilly, WellPoint to push for better health benefitsRestricted Content

April 14, 2008
J.K. Wall
Service Employees International Union Local 3 is backing local janitors as they restart contract negotiations April 16 with five of the largest janitorial contractors in Indianapolis. SEIU now is taking direct aim at Lilly, health insurer WellPoint Inc. and even some local hospitals, hoping they will pressure the janitorial contractors to come to terms.
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Anthem increases its hold on IndianaRestricted Content

March 24, 2008
J.K. Wall
Anthem Insurance Co. added nearly 75,000 commercial customers last year, pushing its total up more than 4 percent. Anthem, a subsidiary of Indianapolis-based WellPoint Inc., now claims a whopping 1.8 million commercial customers in the state. The trouble is, Anthem's dominance limits price competition, according to benefits brokers, making it hard for local HMOs such as M-Plan or even some national players to compete.
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Rooney: healer or heretic in health insurance industry?Restricted Content

March 17, 2008
J.K. Wall
The "father of health savings accounts" isn't satisfied. At 80, J. Patrick Rooney is gearing up for another health care reform battle in Washington--five years after winning a colossal victory when Congress awarded health savings accounts tax-free status.
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Braly gains prestige--fastRestricted Content

December 31, 2007
J.K. Wall
At the beginning of 2007, few people outside WellPoint Inc. had even heard of Angela Braly. Nine months later, Fortune magazine named her the fourth most powerful woman in business.
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WellPoint broadens push to improve healthRestricted Content

December 3, 2007
J.K. Wall
WellPoint, Indiana's largest health insurer, is making more noise than ever about what it's doing to help improve Hoosiers' and Americans' health.
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WellPoint adjusts to executive exodusRestricted Content

October 22, 2007
J.K. Wall
Fifteen senior executives have left WellPoint Inc. since November 2004, when the giant health insurer formed through Indianapolis-based Anthem Inc.'s $16.5 billion acquisition of California-based WellPoint Health Networks Inc. The merger made many of them rich, work at WellPoint was grueling, and personal commitments called. So they moved on.
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Consumer-driven health plan only option for Marsh employeesRestricted Content

October 8, 2007
J.K. Wall
Marsh Supermarkets Inc.'s decision to offer its employees a health reimbursement account as their only health insurance option this year has captured the attention of local employers and benefits consultants.
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WellPoint aims for Hispanic marketRestricted Content

August 6, 2007
J.K. Wall
A team inside WellPoint Inc. that created a successful product for the 20-somethings is hard at work trying to create a similar winner among Hispanics. A roughly 25-person team has researched Hispanics for two years and now is using its findings to establish a separate brand name, a new Web site and grass-roots techniques to reach Hispanics.
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Bill challenges WellPoint's 'favored' statusRestricted Content

March 26, 2007
J.K. Wall
A bill moving through the Indiana General Assembly could remove one of the major weapons Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield has used to preserve its market dominion. Senate Bill 114 would forbid health care providers from granting Anthem--or any other health insurer--so-called "most favored nation" clauses.
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WellPoint's new CEO likely to encounter more obstacles than her predecessorRestricted Content

March 5, 2007
J.K. Wall
There are no longer any for-profit Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance plans for WellPoint Inc. to acquire as a means of growth. State governments have effectively stopped those plans from converting to for-profits. That means new CEO Angela F. Braly can't keep WellPoint growing by gobbling up competitors.
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Angie's List explores rating doctorsRestricted Content

January 22, 2007
Tom Murphy
Angie's List is preparing to bring its patented dose of consumer empowerment to your local doctor's office. The Web-based rating service--which started 2007 by expanding into 30 more cities--hopes to launch a pilot program in Indianapolis that rates doctors, insurers and others in the health care business.
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