From The AIS Report on Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans - In terms of market share, Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans owned public insurance exchanges this year. But when the next open-enrollment period kicks off on Nov. 15, they will face a wave of new competitors ranging from small Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans (CO-OPs) expanding into new markets, to national health plan operators that largely sat on the sidelines last year. And incumbent carriers that priced products conservatively last year appear to be taking a more aggressive position for 2015. What’s more, rising premiums could compel some enrollees to shop around. Read more
From Health Plan Week - With research on electronic cigarettes scant and federal regulation nonexistent, health insurers are tight-lipped regarding how new data and guidance might affect established smoking policies. Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, are battery-operated mechanisms that convert liquid nicotine into vapor, eliminating many of the harmful agents found in tobacco smoke. Read more
From Health Plan Week - Blues operator Highmark Inc. and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) may have signed a consent decree covering the transition period that follows the end of the pair’s provider contract at the close of 2014, but Pennsylvania consultants say there are outstanding issues like how much to reimburse for emergency room rates that have to be resolved to avoid problems for consumers in 2015. Read more
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