Articles

WellPoint draws ire for pushing generics: Pfizer asks docs to resist cheaper statins

Indianapolis-based WellPoint Inc. is in a tussle with the nation’s largest drug maker over the nation’s top-selling drug. New York-based Pfizer Inc., facing the loss of billions in sales of its Lipitor cholesterol-fighting drug, sent letters last month to doctors, encouraging them to protest the attempts of health benefits firms to switch patients to generic cholesterol drugs. The letter, which says the change is being pushed “for cost reasons alone,” reached doctors several days after Well-Point expanded a promotion to…

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Lilly still breathing in inhaler pursuit

Pfizer Inc.’s new inhaled insulin product, Exubera, has stumbled out of the gate. That would appear to keep the door open
for Eli Lilly and Co., as well as for other companies racing to develop inhaled insulin. But Pfizer’s troubles might cause
doctors and patients to sour on all inhaled insulin products.

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Consumers drive away from HMOs: Despite declines, most plans in Indiana still have healthy reserves and profits

Most central Indiana HMOs lost customers again in 2006, with consumerdriven health care plans inflicting the latest cut. Eight out of 10 major health maintenance organizations lost members, some for a third straight year. The declines ranged from 4 percent to 48 percent, according to their annual reports filed with the Indiana Department of Insurance. Most HMOs are in no danger of going out of business. Many posted increased profit in 2006, and most have healthy cash reserves. But HMOs…

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Bill challenges WellPoint’s ‘favored’ status

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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Surgeon helping pioneer efforts to regrow knee cartilage

When Dr. Jack Farr II saw his grandfather’s knees become bowed out, then saw his father get a knee replacement, he knew he
was next. So he spent his career trying to develop new techniques to replace–and now even regrow–the cartilage around knees.
His labors are part of an international effort to develop alternatives to joint replacements.

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St. Francis CEO says Beech Grove move inevitable

Robert J. Brody, president and CEO of St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers, announced March 8 that St. Francis would shutter
its inpatient hospital in Beech Grove and expand its south-side hospital by 2010. In an interview with IBJ, Brody laid out
the ills that beset hospitals across the country.

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Physician assistants want OK to prescribe drugs: Bill would make Indiana last state to allow it

Indiana could see a wave of new physician assistants working here if lawmakers allow the medical technicians to prescribe medicine. So say the proponents of House Bill 1241, now being debated in the Indiana Senate. They claim Indiana, as the only state yet to grant the prescribing prerogative, forces doctors to hire fewer physician assistants and so loses health care workers to other states. That’s a particularly important issue in rural and some urban areas, where doctors are scarce. Because…

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UPDATE: Medical errors lower than first Minnesota report

Indiana hospitals and health care centers committed at least 77 serious preventable errors in 2006—some of which even killed or seriously harmed patients, according to a preliminary report released today by the Indiana State Department of Health. The report is the first of its kind in Indiana, but it won’t be finalized until August because […]

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New report reveals 77 serious health care errors

Indiana hospitals and health care centers committed at least 77 serious preventable errors in 2006—some of which even killed or seriously harmed patients, according to a preliminary report released today by the Indiana State Department of Health. The report is the first of its kind in Indiana, but won’t be finalized until August because some […]

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Damage from hail still being tallied: Premiums may increase, but big jump not forecast

Hoosier homeowners and motorists could pay more for insurance this year in the wake of last April’s hailstorm that produced a nation-leading $1.5 billion in catastrophic claims. But even as insurers continue to pay for new roofs and car body repairs, industry experts say any increase would be less than 10 percent. So far, no insurance companies have formally requested a premium increase due to the hailstorm, according to the Indiana Department of Insurance, although claims continue to roll in….

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WellPoint banks on the popularity of HSAs: Insurer moves to start bank, offer medical financing

To do so the Indianapolis-based health insurer is moving to start its own bank, whose initial role will be to hold and manage its customers’ health savings accounts. An HSA is a relatively new breed of health insurance that places money-and more responsibility-in consumers’ hands. Well-Point bets more and more of its customers will start such accounts in the future. “We expect to see continued strong growth for these products. There is a tremendous amount of interest in the marketplace…

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Ohio attorney still unscathed by Conseco lawsuits: Insurer trying to collect $150 million in unpaid loans

He’s held off Conseco’s attorneys longer than anyone else. And if he can get to a jury, he’s confident he can win. Dennis E. Murray Sr., a colorful trial lawyer from Ohio, likely will be the last man standing in Conseco’s 3-1/2-year assault on a group of its former directors and officers who failed to repay hundreds of millions of dollars borrowed to buy Conseco stock. The Carmel-based insurance firm has settled with nine of the 11 borrowers in that…

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