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Elanco, the fast-growing animal health division of Eli Lilly and Co., wants to add 200 jobs at its headquarters in Greenfield, but says it needs taxpayer assistance to do it, according to the Greenfield Daily Reporter. Elanco asked the Greenfield City Council for a 10-year tax abatement on a $14 million expansion, which would add two buildings to the corporate campus Elanco opened in 2010. Elanco employs 475 workers there now, paying average slaries of $80,000. Elanco projects it would hire the 200 additional administrative employees—who would oversee the company’s marketing, manufacturing, finance and other operations—by the first half of 2015. The new jobs would pay on average $60,000 apiece. Elanco has been growing rapidly through both increased sales of its products for livestock and pets, as well as through acquisitions. Elanco’s revenue last year grew 21 percent to nearly $1.7 billion.

Minnesota-based UnitedHealthcare revamped its myHealthcare Cost Estimator tool for its customers in Indianapolis and 46 other markets, and now provides cost estimates based on the health insurer's actual contracted rates with physicians, hospitals, clinics and other health care providers. The cost estimator tool covers more than 100 common treatments and procedures, factoring in a UnitedHealthcare member’s specific benefits plan. It also allows health plan members to compare cost and quality information between different hospitals and physicians. And the tool even points out alternative treatment options that a patient might consider. “myHealthcare Cost Estimator meets a longstanding consumer need for thorough but simple online comparison shopping for health care by putting relevant information right at people’s fingertips,” UnitedHealthcare's Yasmine Winkler, chief product and marketing officer, said in a prepared statement. Many health insurers are rolling out tools to help consumers gauge cost and quality before making decisions on health care. This year, Indianapolis-based Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield expanded to more than 100 the procedures its cost-comparison tool covers. Anthem also rolled out a program in which employers can give its workers a cash payment each time they use the cost comparison tool before seeking care.

Indiana medical device companies enjoyed at least a symbolic victory last week when the Republican-led House of Representatives voted to repeal the 2.3 percent medical device tax that was part of the 2010 health reform law. The tax, estimated to raise $29 billion over the next decade, is scheduled to take effect next year. Indiana has more than 300 medical device manufacturers, employing almost 20,000 people, including Zimmer Holdings Inc., Biomet Inc., Cook Group, DePuy Orthopaedics Inc., Hill-Rom Inc. and Roche Diagnostics Corp. The repeal is not likely to even come up for a vote in the Senate, and if it does, will almost certainly be defeated by the Democrat-controlled chamber. Also, a repeal of the tax likely faces a veto from President Obama. However, the repeal vote is a sign of Republicans’ attempts to scale back the health care law that passed without a single Republican vote. The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule this month on the law’s constitutionality.

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