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.
Health care benefits that promote wellness should be an ongoing executive suite focus, not simply an annual budget concern.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.