Maryland Gov. Signs Law to Help Uninsured via Tax Return

May 21, 2019

Maryland recently became the first state in the nation to try to guide uninsured low-income residents into Medicaid or a subsidized Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchange plan via their tax returns. The state anticipates launching the program in January 2020 and will make itself available as a resource for other states that have “taken an interest in Maryland’s approach and are eager to see the results,” a state official tells AIS Health.

By Judy Packer-Tursman

Maryland recently became the first state in the nation to try to guide uninsured low-income residents into Medicaid or a subsidized Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchange plan via their tax returns. The state anticipates launching the program in January 2020 and will make itself available as a resource for other states that have “taken an interest in Maryland’s approach and are eager to see the results,” a state official tells AIS Health.

Statewide, Maryland Health Benefit Exchange estimates 50,000-odd Marylanders “would be eligible for essentially premium-free coverage,” says Betsy Plunkett, MHBE’s director of marketing and web strategies.

“Simply put, more pathways to coverage is a good thing,” says CEO Meg Murray of the Association for Community Affiliated Plans. “The devil will be in the operational details; it always is. But it’s a novel, promising idea and we look forward to seeing the results.”

In a May 13 Health Affairs blog, Stan Dorn, a senior fellow at Families USA, notes that national health policy debates are failing to address a basic problem that continues to loom large: how to enroll the eligible uninsured into available coverage.

Maryland’s program “represents the country’s first attempt to use income tax filing as an immediate on-ramp to health coverage,” he says.

As Dorn explains it, uninsured tax filers in Maryland will be able to check a box on their state income tax return asking the state to determine their eligibility for free or low-cost insurance. MHBE will determine their eligibility for Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program and premium tax credits.

Datapoint: Regeneron’s Eylea Scores New FDA Approval

May 20, 2019

Regeneron’s Eylea last week scored an FDA nod for the treatment of diabetic retinopathy, the leading cause of adult-onset blindness in the U.S. This new indication is a potential gamechanger for Regeneron, as Eylea could soon face generic competition from Novartis’ brolucizumab in its strongest market, wet aged-related macular degeneration. For the treatment of macular edema, Eylea currently holds preferred status for 2% of covered lives, growing to 12% with step therapy and/or prior authorization. Overall, Eylea is covered in the pharmacy benefit for 30% of covered lives.

Regeneron’s Eylea last week scored an FDA nod for the treatment of diabetic retinopathy, the leading cause of adult-onset blindness in the U.S. This new indication is a potential gamechanger for Regeneron, as Eylea could soon face generic competition from Novartis’ brolucizumab in its strongest market, wet aged-related macular degeneration. For the treatment of macular edema, Eylea currently holds preferred status for 2% of covered lives, growing to 12% with step therapy and/or prior authorization. Overall, Eylea is covered in the pharmacy benefit for 30% of covered lives.

SOURCE: MMIT Analytics, as of 5/15/19

Centene CEO Tops List of Highest-Paid Publicly Traded Health Insurers’ Executives in 2018

May 20, 2019

Centene Corp. CEO Michael Neidorff was the top-paid publicly traded health insurer CEO in 2018, easily winning the No. 1 slot for the fifth year in a row with total compensation of $26.12 million.

Cigna Corp. CEO David Cordani came in second place for total CEO compensation in 2018, with earnings of $18.94 million, an increase of 7.7%. UnitedHealth Group CEO David Wichmann was in third place, with total compensation of $18.11 million, a 4.1% increase from 2017.

By Jane Anderson

Centene Corp. CEO Michael Neidorff was the top-paid publicly traded health insurer CEO in 2018, easily winning the No. 1 slot for the fifth year in a row with total compensation of $26.12 million.

Cigna Corp. CEO David Cordani came in second place for total CEO compensation in 2018, with earnings of $18.94 million, an increase of 7.7%. UnitedHealth Group CEO David Wichmann was in third place, with total compensation of $18.11 million, a 4.1% increase from 2017.

Humana Inc. CEO Bruce Broussard came in fourth, with $16.31 million in compensation, a 17.4% drop from 2017. Molina Healthcare, Inc. CEO Joseph Zubretsky was fifth, with total compensation of $15.22 million in 2018, a 22.9% decrease from 2017.

Rachel Grof, director, rewards at Willis Towers Watson in Boston, tells AIS Health that health plan boards are considering more than just stock performance when structuring compensation.

In addition, the human resources and compensation committees of company boards are focusing more on such topics as inclusion/diversity, pay equity and transparency within their organizations, Grof says.

Based on the data from the proxy statements, Grof says that organizations continue to use equity and other awards for newly hired or promoted executives. However, she says, “organizations have been somewhat cautious and tactical with compensation increases. They’re no longer using ‘peanut butter’ type of approaches — they’re trying to differentiate more and more based on performance, skills and criticality.”

People on the Move

May 17, 2019

Health System Executives See Softening in M&A Trend

May 17, 2019

A recent survey of health care provider executives shows that while merger and acquisition activity remained robust last year, it may show indications of a slowdown, according to the 2019 HealthLeaders Mergers, Acquisitions, and Partnerships Survey conducted by the HealthLeaders Intelligence Unit. The analysis of 154 completed surveys of executives of health systems, hospitals, physician organizations, skilled nursing and assisted living facilities and other provider entities shows that 91% of respondents expect their organizations’ M&A activity to increase or remain the same within the next three years.

by Jinghong Chen

A recent survey of health care provider executives shows that while merger and acquisition activity remained robust last year, it may show indications of a slowdown, according to the 2019 HealthLeaders Mergers, Acquisitions, and Partnerships Survey conducted by the HealthLeaders Intelligence Unit. The analysis of 154 completed surveys of executives of health systems, hospitals, physician organizations, skilled nursing and assisted living facilities and other provider entities shows that 91% of respondents expect their organizations’ M&A activity to increase or remain the same within the next three years. While the outlook for growth appears strong, nearly 23% of the respondents report no M&A activity recently, almost doubling the result in 2018. The study also found that providers’ M&A budgets appear to be decreasing. Below is a look at how health provider executives view the impact of recent M&A activity.

Note: Survey results do not always add up to 100% due to rounding.

SOURCE: “Navigating the M&A Landscape: Achieving Clinical and Financial Objectives,” HealthLeaders. 2019 HealthLeaders Mergers, Acquisitions, and Partnerships Survey, HealthLeaders Intelligence Unit. Visit https://bit.ly/2WsJcUw.