Monthly Archives: December 2012

Anthem Customers Face Out-of-Network Rates At Middlesex Hospital After Contract Expires

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MIDDLETOWN — People who have Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Connecticut as their health insurer will face more expensive, out-of-network rates at Middlesex Hospital starting Jan. 1.

Anthem, the state’s largest health insurer in terms of membership, and Middlesex Hospital have negotiated terms of a contract for months, but the two sides were unable to agree on a deal, according to Wallingford-based Anthem.

The previous contract ends Monday, Dec. 31, 2012. This is the most recent in a continuing series of contract battles between health insurers and hospitals. In general, insurers argue that they are trying to hold down medical costs for customers while hospitals say they are only asking the price to provide quality treatment for patients.

“We value this hospital and their role in our network; however, the level of increase they are demanding is unreasonable to pass along to our customers,” said Anthem spokeswoman Sarah Yeager.

Anthem told its members earlier in December that Middlesex Hospital could be eliminated from the insurer’s network of medical providers if the two sides didn’t agree on a contract by the Dec. 31 deadline. Anthem is referring its members to other hospitals.

Neither the hospital nor the insurer on Monday would say how many patients who have Anthem have used the hospital’s services in the past year. The sticking points also aren’t clear, though in many contracts, the insurer and hospital disagree about the price the insurer should pay for services, such as surgeries, x-rays, diagnostic tests and other clinical costs.

“We’re fortunate that we have other in-network providers and hospitals in the area and throughout Connecticut who can meet our members’ health care needs,” Yeager said.

Middlesex Hospital declined to comment beyond acknowledging that the contract was set to expire Monday.

The Hartford Reorganizes Mutual Funds Business As Part Of Transformation

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As a small maneuver in a major transformation at The Hartford, the property-casualty insurer is reorganizing its Mutual Funds business.

Some support services for the Mutual Funds unit will be moved from Hartford Life and Accident Insurance Co. to Hartford Life Inc., according to a company filing Monday with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission.

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Health Insurance Co-op Gets Its First Chief Executive

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A new health insurance co-op that hopes to offer coverage next fall for the following year has its first chief executive.

HealthyCT, the consumer-operated and oriented plan, announced Wednesday that Ken Lalime, 56, is the first CEO. Lalime was among 175 candidates. The Norwalk resident has served as interim chief operating officer of HealthyCT and starts in his new job on Jan. 1.

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Colorado Company Accuses Aetna Of Patent Infringement In Health Technology Lawsuit

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A Colorado health-care technology company accuses Aetna and two of its subsidiaries of patent infringement for using computer systems that reduce costs and streamline the claims process.

HealthTrio LLC of Denver, Colo., received 10 patents between 2008 and last week that protect methods and computer-based systems which improve the quality of care, decrease costs and streamline the administrative process of medical claims, the company said in a lawsuit filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado.

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AXA Equitable Donates Epic 1920s Mural To Metropolitan Museum of Art

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This Thomas Hart Benton panel, titled “Instruments of Power,” is one of 10 pieces in the artist’s epic “America Today” mural. AXA Equitable Life Insurance Co., which has offices in Connecticut, has donated the mural to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. (Courtesy of AXA Equitable)

  

AXA Equitable Life Insurance Co. has donated an epic, 10-panel mural of life in the 1920s to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the company announced this week.

The mural, “America Today” by Thomas Hart Benton, is a panorama most recently displayed in the lobby of the insurer’s headquarters, at 1290 Avenue of the Americas. AXA Equitable also has offices in Farmington and Stamford.

The mural was taken down in January 2012 when the building owner renovated the property and has been stored off-site since that time. It was given to the Met in late November.

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Aetna CEO: Premiums Will Double In Some Places Because Of Health Care Reform

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Aetna’s CEO Mark T. Bertolini said the Affordable Care Act will increase health insurance premiums by 100 percent, doubling the price in some markets, according to a Bloomberg report.

Bertolini said at an investor conference Wednesday in New York: “We’ve shared it all with the people in Washington and I think it’s a big concern. We’re going to see some markets go up as much as 100 percent,” according to Bloomberg.

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Toxic Treats: Pet Insurance Claims Spike Around The Holidays

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Pet insurers see a spike around holidays — any time chocolate and other toxic treats are around.

Chocolate and other types of candy are toxic to dogs. Every Christmas — and other holidays when candy abounds — pet owners dash to veterinary emergency-care rooms after their dogs scrounge around and gobble chocolate, baked goods with raisins or other things that are toxic to them. In high doses and left untreated, candy can cause serious damage to a dog’s kidney, pancreas or liver.

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Cigna Announces Joint Venture With Middle East Insurer

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Cigna Corp. announced a new joint venture with a Saudi Arabian insurer that Cigna has had a partnership with for years, selling products in the Middle East.

Cigna’s Global Health Benefits and Saudi Arabian Insurance Company B.S.C. (SAICO) announced the joint venture Tuesday. The two companies have partnered for 11 years selling health, wellness and insurance products to regional and national employers and other groups in the Middle East.

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Avon-based Magellan Health Services To Have A New CEO Starting Jan. 1

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Magellan Health Services Inc. will have a new chief executive at the start of the year as current CEO René Lerer steps down to become a full-time executive chairman.

The change is part of a transition to take place over several years. Barry M. Smith, 59, will be the new CEO starting Jan. 1. Smith is a member of the company’s board.

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