Marketplace Hospitals Work On Insurance Arms Walgreen Eyes Hospice Business

first_img This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. News outlets covered developments in the hospital and hospice industries.  The Wall Street Journal: Hospital Systems Branch Out As InsurersA growing number of hospital systems are moving to start their own insurance plans, aiming to broaden their roles and prepare for the changes coming under the federal health-care overhaul. Piedmont Healthcare and WellStar Health System, both in the Atlanta area, are set to announce a jointly owned insurance arm, with the goal of marketing coverage to employers and Medicare recipients in 2014. They also will consider selling coverage on a health exchange, one of the online insurance marketplaces required in each state by the health-overhaul law (Mathews, 12/16).Earlier, related KHN story: Hospitals Look To Become Insurers, As Well As Providers Of Care (Rabin, 8/26).Modern Healthcare: Walgreen Returns To Hospice CareLooking to bolster sagging revenue, Walgreen Co. plans to launch a national platform targeting hospice providers as soon as next year, an about-face after jettisoning its long-term care pharmacy business two years ago. Providing medications to dying patients is more lucrative than retail sales, where the Deerfield-based company faces mounting price competition. The hospice pharmacy industry is particularly fragmented, making it attractive to a company with the heft of Walgreen (Sweeney, 12/16). And in insurer news – Medscape: Physician Groups Rank UnitedHealthcare Last AgainFor the fourth year in a row, Medicare Part B has received the highest overall satisfaction score from group practice professionals and UnitedHealthcare has received the lowest score, according to the latest survey on third-party payers conducted by the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA). Medicare Part B and UnitedHealthcare also took the top and bottom spots, respectively, with regard to other key indicators of a happy business relationship, such as timely and accurate responses to questions, the claims appeals process, and full disclosure of payment policies (Lowes, 12/14). Marketplace: Hospitals Work On Insurance Arms; Walgreen Eyes Hospice Businesslast_img