Inside the Highmark, West Penn Merger Talks

June 30, 2011

Gary Rotstein of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette speculates on the tenor of merger talks between Highmark and West Penn Allegheny Health System.

WPAHS: Thanks for coming to talk this over.

HIGHMARK: Glad to do it, but you kept me in the waiting room for 40 minutes. And the magazines were old and crummy….

WPAHS:I don’t see what you’re getting so huffy about. I had one heckuva time trying to get through on the phone to set this meeting up….Your phone tree had all these options and numbers and circular routes back to the menu and I never had a chance to reach a live human being for what I actually needed….That reminds me — I’ve got some forms here for you to fill out, before we actually proceed. Put your signature several times on each page, especially on the lines where it seems redundant, and then initial everything.

HIGHMARK: No problem. We’re happy to give you the cash you need to keep all of the hospitals open, so long as you meet our qualifying criteria.


Humana’s McCallister on

June 27, 2011

Click here to view video.

Did Healthcare Reform Boost HMO Stocks?

June 23, 2011

John Graham of Pacific Research Institute thinks so:

The most likely explanation for health plans’ stock performance is that investors saw PPACA itself as a boon for health plans. Also, investors likely do not believe that Republicans will eventually repeal it, but instead exercise even less oversight and give health plans more favors than a single-party Democratic federal government would.



It’s an intersting analysis, but I’m going to wait until the current — favorable — underwriting cycle turns down and the full impact of the law’s taxes, profit caps and exchanges kicks in.

1Q11 Health Plan Enrollment Data Dump

June 9, 2011

First-quarter 2011 enrollment data from leading health plans reinforced familiar trends, according to the latest issue of Health Plan Market Trends. Fully funded enrollment is down. Self-insured, Medicaid and HSA-compatible high-deductible health plans are enjoying gains.

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