This Week in Health Reform: Aetna Inc. (AET), WellPoint, Inc. (WLP), CIGNA Corporation (CI)

Aetna (AET)News about the Affordable Care Act continues floods the headlines, as health care providers, insurers, and government officials attempt to get things in place for the laws major provisions going into effect in 2014. The top stories don’t always directly involve public companies, but they’re usually sneaking around somewhere in the background.

Here are a few of this week’s top health care reform stories.

Florida hits Medicaid expansion snag
Gov. Rick Scott’s surprising turn toward Medicaid expansion ran into opposition this week. The state’s legislature voted against expansion as defined by the ACA, but several politicians indicated a willingness to find a different way to cover the same low income individuals. It’s still possible that the historically conservative state will opt-out of the expansion. But they might try to strike a deal similar to Arkansas, where the governor received federal approval to send beneficiaries to private insurance exchanges with Medicaid money.

Feds seek power to overrule premium rate hikes
Congressional Democrats reintroduced a bill  Wednesday that would grant the Department of Health and Human Services permission to block premium rate hikes from insurers. Some states have the power to overturn rates, but the federal government doesn’t.

The bill arrived as Californian politicians spoke out against forthcoming double-digit rate increases from Aetna Inc. (NYSE:AET) and a WellPoint, Inc. (NYSE:WLP) Blue Cross unit. State lawmakers currently lack the power to veto unfair increases, but the issue should be on the ballot next year. California will have a health insurance exchange, and participating insurers were supposed to submit their rates this month.

Both the legislature and the competitive exchange market may make it harder for the companies to make such rate raises in the future.

CIGNA Corporation (NYSE:CI) bows out of CT exchange
Speaking of state-run exchanges, CIGNA Corporation (NYSE:CI) announced that it won’t participate in Connecticut’s Access Health CT. The exchange may include 200,000 individuals looking for private insurance after the first of the year. Insurers who agree to join the state’s exchange have to stay for two years, which CIGNA Corporation (NYSE:CI) may have wanted to avoid. Aetna Inc. (NYSE:AET) and United Healthcare are among the insurers already signed up.

Health care spending slows
Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius wrote Thursday that health care spending is on the decline. Sebelius cited a USA Today study that said last year’s spending “rose at one of the lowest rates in a half-century”. The cause? If you’ve read the rest of this article, you can probably guess. (Hint: It has an acronym of ACA). Sebelius also noted reports from her own office, which have shown slow paces  for both Medicare and Medicaid spending per beneficiary.

The article This Week in Health Reform originally appeared on Fool.com and is written by Brandy Betz.

Fool contributor Brandy Betz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends WellPoint. The Motley Fool owns shares of WellPoint.

Copyright © 1995 – 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Biotech Insider Alert - $6 Stock To Hit $40

$200 Million Dollar Healthcare Hedge Fund's #1 Best Idea Right Now

The best healthcare hedge fund out there right now is one of the largest shareholders in this biotech stock. The fund returned more than 20% in each of the last 2 years with a virtually fully hedged portfolio, and it's sending out a BUY signal on this biotech stock. Get your FREE REPORT today (retail value of $300)

This is a FREE report from Insider Monkey. Credit Card is NOT required.
Comments
Insider Monkey Small Cap Strategy
Insider Monkey Small Cap Strategy

Insider Monkey beat the market by 52 percentage points in 24 months. Our beta is only 1.2 (don't click this link if beating the market isn't important to you).

Lists

Most Famous Gay Athletes

The World’s Most Famous Circuses

Best Hair Stylists

Most Popular NASCAR Drivers

The Best Romance Movies of all Time

The Most Wanted Drug Lords

The Oldest Money Managers

The Greatest Directors in the World

Largest Animals in the World

World’s Most Expensive Desserts

Best Selling Comic Books of All Time

A-list Actors who Sabotaged Their Career

Rappers With a College Degree

The Best Jazz Albums of all Time

The Most Influential Jazz Musicians

The World’s Most Famous Photographers

The Best Oscar-Winning Songs

Most Influential Choreographers Ever

Most Expensive Department Stores in the World

The Most Expensive Stolen Paintings in the World

The World’s Most Expensive Teas

Top Oscar Record Holders

The Most Expensive Flowers in the World

Countries With a Booming Film Industry

Most Expensive Cupcakes in the World

Uncommon European Escapes

The Most Stolen Artists in History

Best Travel Destinations in Australia

World’s Most Expensive Musical Instruments

World’s Most Famous Animals

Most Expensive Cakes in the World

Most Expensive Kosher Champagne in the World

Most Expensive Kosher Wine in the World

The Most Surprisingly Dark Fairy Tales

Most Popular Travel Destinations in Asia

The 10 Most Expensive Dresses Ever Worn to the Oscars

World’s Most Visited Art Museums

Best Countries for Photographers to Work in

Best Paid Jobs in the Film Industry

The Most Renowned Recovered Paintings Ever

Child Stars That Turned out Just Fine

Books That Were Banned in the Past Century

World’s Richest Dancers

Best Remedies against Bad Breath

Foods That Improve Your Skin Texture

Best-Selling Children’s Books of all Time

Foods That Boost Your Libido

Best-Selling Books of all Time

The Most Expensive Academy Awards Jewelry in History

Most Expensive Japanese Restaurant In New York City

Subscribe

Enter your email:

Delivered by FeedBurner

X

Thanks! An email with instructions is sent to !

Your email already exists in our database. Click here to go to your subscriptions

Insider Monkey returned 129% in 2.5 years!! Wondering How?

Download a complete edition of our newsletter for free!