Moody’s just downgraded the health insurance industry

From the Washington Post

Stephen Zaharuk is a Moody’s senior vice president who covers the health insurance industry. That makes him the guy who authored the report downgrading the credit outlook for health insurance companies from “stable” to “negative” on Thursday. We spoke Thursday afternoon about his outlook for the health-care industry, the big unknowns looming in 2014, and why the downgrade happened now. Some of his quotes made it into this story in Friday’s paper and what follows is a transcript of our discussion, lightly edited for clarity.
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AIDS advocates say drug coverage in some marketplace plans is inadequate

From the Washington Post

The nation’s new health-care law says insurers can’t turn anyone away, even people who are sick. But some companies, patient advocates say, have found a way to discourage the chronically ill from enrolling in their plans: offer drug coverage too skimpy for those with expensive conditions.

Some plans sold on the online insurance exchanges, for instance, don’t cover key medications for HIV, or they require patients to pay as much as 50 percent of the cost per prescription in co-insurance — sometimes more than $1,000 a month.

“The fear is that they are putting discriminatory plan designs into place to try to deter certain people from enrolling by not covering the medications they need, or putting policies in place that make them jump through hoops to get care,” said John Peller, vice president of policy for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago.
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Thousands of Doctors Dropped by Insurer After Obamacare Funding Cuts

From Newsmax

UnitedHealth Group has dropped thousands of doctors from its networks in recent weeks, leaving many elderly patients unsure whether they need to switch plans to continue seeing their doctors, the Wall Street Journal reported Saturday.

The insurer said in October that underfunding of Medicare Advantage plans for the elderly could not be fully offset by the company’s other healthcare business.

The company also reported spending more healthcare premiums on medical claims in the third quarter, due mainly to government cuts to payments for Medicare Advantage services.

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Another Health Insurer Caught Falsely Cancelling Thousands of Health Plans

From Daily Kos

Following the report that Insurer Humana was fined $65,000 in Kentucky for sending out 6,500 misleading cancellation letters for low-premiums plans only to be automatic re-enrollment in high cost plans before these customers were given a chance to shop on the open exchange for a better and cheaper plan – we now have a new report that Anthem Blue Cross is being sued for tricking people into dropping their “grandfathered” plans.

Think that’s bad, well this is even worse.

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