Healthcare Roundup—Healthcare stocks rise following midterm election

Finance earnings stock ticker graph
A split Congress is good news for healthcare investors, plus more healthcare headlines. (Getty/monsitj)

Healthcare stocks rally after midterm results

Congress is split following the midterm elections, and investors like the certainty that brings to the industry.

Analysts said the divided legislature is a “best case scenario” for healthcare stockholders. Humana’s stock value hit an all-time high on Wednesday, with shares trading at $354.33, and UnitedHealthcare and Anthem are also performing well.

Dialysis provider shares also rose thanks to California voters rejecting a proposal that would have set limits on the rates they can charge to commercial payers. Drug companies like Pfizer and AbbVie also benefitted, with their stock value rising by 3%. (Reuters)

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Prevention efforts did Humana well in Q3, leadership says

Humana beat expectations this past quarter, reporting $901 million in earnings in the third quarter of 2018 and $1.63 billion since the beginning of this year.

The insurer boasted growth in its Medicare Advantage membership, a trend that continued from last quarter. The response to Humana’s offerings for 2019 has been positive so far, and this is “paving the way for significant growth in 2019,” said Brian Kane, chief financial officer.

More broadly, the company touted its focus on prevention and addressing the social determinants of health through smart use of analytics and coordinating with clinicians.

Humana’s analytics department has largely spearheaded its medication reconciliation work, using technology to catch discrepancies that, in turn, prevent adverse responses to drugs and hospital readmissions. CEO Bruce Broussard said this program alone has generated “significant” savings. (FierceHealthcare)

Washington hospital to join AHA lawsuit over site-neutral payments

Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles, Washington, will join the American Hospital Association’s planned lawsuit against the federal government over its decision to institute a site-neutral payment policy.

The AHA announced it would sue the Department of Health and Human Services over the policy changes. OMC’s board of commissioners unanimously voted Wednesday to join the suit after the AHA asked it to be one of the named plaintiffs.

The AHA will cover the legal costs, but OMC will be asked to provide evidence and testimony. (Peninsula Daily News)

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