Payer Roundup—UHG exec stock sell-off after DOJ probe; Michigan awards Medicaid contracts; Cigna announce innovation hub home

Below is a roundup of payer-centric news for the week of April 8, 2024.

BCBSMA invests in primary care practices

For independent primary care practices that qualify, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts is increasing reimbursement rates up to 30%.

In a news release, the insurer said it doesn't expect the increase will affect members' total costs. More than 1,000 providers will be eligible for the increase.

In 2023, patients in the states reported a record low ease of access to primary care, a survey from the Massachusetts Health Quality Partners found.

Michigan gives contracts to Medicaid payers

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services awarded nine health plans five-year contracts to administer the state's Medicaid programs.

Going into effect Oct. 1, the plans will be eligible for for three one-year extensions.

The plans selected include Blue Cross Complete of Michigan, Meridian Health Plan of Michigan, Molina Healthcare of Michigan, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan, HAP CareSource and Aetna Better Health of Michigan.

Meridian Health Plan, a Centene subsidiary and Molina Healthcare will cover three fewer regions in the state, impacting 65,000 members, according to analysis from JPMorgan and reported by Healthcare Dive.

UnitedHealth execs sell $102M in stock before DOJ investigation

In the four months leading up to when the public became aware of a federal antitrust investigation, four UnitedHealth Group executives sold stock valued at $101.5 million.

The sell-off took place a week after UnitedHealth was notified and four months before the investigation became public knowledge. The company's stock took a dip following the news.

A UnitedHealth spokesperson told Bloomberg the execs "followed our protocols and received approval from the company." If the information was considered material, the ongoing investigation might have needed to be disclosed, corporate governance experts said.

Cigna pharmacy care division putting innovation hub in Ireland

The Cigna Group said it is creating 100 jobs through a new innovation hub for Evernorth Health Services, the pharmacy, care and benefits solution division for the insurer.

Supported by the Irish government, the hub will be located in Galway.

"We selected Galway as a hub because we believe it will help us drive further innovation on behalf of all those we serve," said Luke Warren, head of Evernorth Ireland, in a statement. "We look forward to deepening our engagement with the Galway community and benefiting from new viewpoints as we deliver on our promises to our stakeholders."