Inside these posts: health care reform

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Illinois plans 4th webinar on insurance exchanges

The Illinois Department of Insurance is planning the fourth in a series of web-based seminars on health insurance exchanges.

The nation’s new health care law requires the exchanges to be running in states by 2014. Individuals and small businesses would be able to shop for health coverage through the exchange. Get the full story »

Hundreds of companies get health-care waivers

Hundreds of employers have received federal waivers from a new requirement in the health-care overhaul law.

Government figures show that 733 applicants, mainly employers and union-affiliated insurers, received an exemption from a requirement that puts their plans on the hook for up to $750,000 in eligible medical bills for each covered worker this year. Most of those plans now have reimbursement limits that are a fraction of that amount. Get the full story »

Illinois Blue Cross, hospitals target re-admissions

Reducing costly re-admissions to hospitals is the goal of a new initiative being rolled out this year by Illinois’ largest health insurer and the state’s hospital lobby.

By 2014, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois and the Illinois Hospital Association say they hope to reduce re-admissions by 33 percent. In 2009 there were more than 50,000 re-admissions to the approximately 200 hospitals in the state. Get the full story »

Health care law repeal hurts deficits, says CBO

An effort by Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives to repeal the health care law enacted last year would add to already huge federal budget deficits, the Congressional Budget Office warned on Thursday. Get the full story »

Caterpillar CEO had health scare

From the Peoria Journal Star | Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman said Friday that he had a health scare more than two years ago, and is now going public with his health issues to influence others — including within Caterpillar — to manage their health.

New health insurance spending rules finalized

New U.S. health insurance spending rules aimed at ensuring more customer dollars go toward medical care were finalized on Monday, ending a source of uncertainty for investors in the sector.

Though the limits are mandated in the new health care law, insurers such as Aetna Inc. and WellPoint Inc. did win some concessions from the U.S. government surrounding implementation of the rules and shares of health insurers mostly rose. Get the full story »

Lilly CEO sees health reform staying largely intact

The chief of drugmaker Eli Lilly & Co.  said Wednesday that he expects the bulk of this year’s  U.S. health care overhaul to remain intact despite Tuesday’s election victories by anti-overhaul Republicans.

But with Republicans taking control of the House of Representatives from the Democrats, Chief Executive John Lechleiter said he will lobby to overturn at least one provision of the overhaul: the creation of an independent payment advisory board tasked with controlling growth in spending by  Medicare. Get the full story »

Cigna 3Q profit falls 6.7% on costs

Managed care company Cigna Corp. said Friday its third-quarter profit fell 6.7 percent on higher medical costs and losses from the company’s reinsurance segment. The Philadelphia insurer says it earned $307 million, or $1.13 per share, in the three months that ended Sept. 30. That’s down from the $329 million, or $1.19 per share, in the same period last year. Get the full story »

Drugmaker Bristol-Myers sees 3Q profit dip

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. posted a slight decline in third-quarter profit Tuesday as its restrained spending was offset by flat sales of its drugs, lower income from its partners and bigger discounts to government because of the health care overhaul.

Boeing says health care law behind plan price hikes

The big aircraft maker Boeing Co. says “cost pressures” from the new health care law are part of the reason it’s asking employees to pay more for their medical benefits next year.

In a letter mailed to employees late last week, Boeing said deductibles and copayments are going up significantly for some 90,000 nonunion workers.

Blue Cross, Advocate raise bar on accountability

The state’s largest health insurer and the area’s biggest medical-care provider have signed an agreement that holds doctors and hospitals more accountable for performance and quality service.

The three-year deal between Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois and Advocate Health Care, which operates 10 hospitals in Illinois, calls for Advocate to limit rate increases it negotiates from the insurance company. In addition, Advocate doctors and hospitals are being asked to meet performance targets tied to improved quality, safety and efficiencies of the medical care provided to patients covered by Illinois Blue Cross HMO and preferred-provider organization products. Get the full story »

CEOs wary of health costs, end of Bush tax cuts

U.S. chief executives are becoming more confident about the economy, though many worry high employee health care costs and the possible end of Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans could hurt businesses.

Vistage International, an organization for chief executives, said on Monday its confidence index edged up to 95.1 in the third quarter from 94.4 in the prior three months. The index is 12 percent above its year-earlier level of 84.9.

The survey, which was conducted between September 14-24 and covered about 1,800 CEOs of small-to-medium sized companies, found that 92 percent of the respondents expected health costs to rise as companies implement the healthcare reform plan, designed to provide insurance to 32 million Americans who don’t have coverage. Get the full story »

McDonald’s grapples with insurance laws

A dispute between McDonald’s Corp. and the federal government over a new health care reform requirement is giving a peek into the potential complexities that the massive new law will have on companies. Get the full story »

McDonald’s threatens to drop hourly health plan

Workers at a McDonald's restaurant in Oak Brook. (Tribune photo by Terry Harris)

McDonald’s Corp. has warned federal regulators that it could drop its health insurance plan for nearly 30,000 hourly restaurant workers unless regulators waive a new requirement of the U.S. health overhaul. The move is one of the clearest indications that new rules may disrupt workers’ health plans as the law ripples through the real world. Get the full story »

State fines unlicensed firms selling health insurance

The Illinois Department of Insurance said it has taken steps to prohibit several companies from “marketing and selling non-comprehensive health insurance” in the state without a license. Get the full story »