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.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Insider Monkey Headlines
Insider Monkey Small Cap Strategy
Insider Monkey Small Cap Strategy

Insider Monkey beat the market by 52 percentage points in 24 months Click to see monthly returns in table format!

Lists

10 Cities with High Demand for Nurses

6 of the Worst Greeting Card Messages Ever Crafted

6 Ways to Make Money in ArcheAge and Build Your Empire

10 Foods To Eat To Lower Cholesterol Levels

The 10 Most Hated Television Characters of All Time

The 30 Worst Halloween Costume Ideas Ever Brought to Horrible Life

10 Vocational Skills in Demand Today with Jobs Waiting to be Filled

10 Best Places to Visit in Central and South America

The 10 Greatest Empires in History Which Nearly Conquered the World

The 6 Cheapest Boarding Schools In America 2015

5 Clear Reasons LoL is Better than DotA, Continues to Rule MOBAs

The Only 9 Teams with a Chance to Win the Super Bowl

The 15 Most Common Phobias in America that Induce Fits of Panic

Top 6 Least Expensive Tourist Destinations in 2014

Jim Goetz, Peter Fenton, Jim Breyer: Top 6 Venture Investors for 2014

Top 15 Billionaires in 2014

5 Pitfalls To Avoid When Buying a Franchise

Top 20 Medical Schools in the US – 2014 Rankings

4 Business Strategies that Turned Jamie Oliver into the World’s Richest Chef

6 Qualities That Make You A Good Team Player

10 High Paying Seasonal Jobs in America this Holiday Season

The 10 Busiest Shipping Lanes in the World

5 Most Valuable Brands in China

The 10 States with Highest Substance Abuse Rates Crippling Their Populace

The Top 10 Things to Do Before You Die That Will Echo for Eternity

The 10 Best Selling Items on Etsy

Top 10 Things to Do in Tokyo, the Greatest City in the World

10 Mistakes on Social Media that Can Harm You and Will Probably Get You Canned

The 10 Best Cities to Find Jobs in 2014

The 10 Most Controversial Songs Of All Time to Hit (and get Banned from) the Airwaves

The 20 Biggest IPOs in US History

The 10 Best Places to Visit in Mexico that Are Beautiful and Safe

7 Bad Habits that Age You Beyond Your Years

The 40 Best Fortune Cookie Sayings That Will Leave You Bemused, Befuddled, or Beguiled

10 Foods to Eat Before a Workout to Make Every Drop of Sweat Count

The 5 Best Documentaries On Netflix You Must See

The Most Heartwarming and Inspirational Story Of This Halloween Season, It Will Make You Cry and Jump For Joy

10 Best Party Songs of All Time to Bring the House Down With

5 New World Order Conspiracy Theories that Will Strangle the World

The 10 Highest Rated Movies of 2014

The 10 Largest Container Shipping Companies in the World

The 10 Largest Armies in the World: Who Should We Be Afraid Of?

Best Warren Buffett Quotes on Money You Need to Hear

The 10 Highest Suicide Rates by Profession

The 20 Most Underrated Movies of All Time

The 10 Fastest Growing Companies in America

The 10 Biggest Outlet Malls in USA

The 5 Most Popular Rap Songs of All Time

The 10 Countries that Eat the Most Meat

The10 Most Expensive Countries to Fly To

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 47.6% in its first year! Wondering How?

Download a complete edition of our newsletter for free!