BCBSRI rate hike reduced; Highmark launches new consulting company;

> Cigna and Health Net have reached an agreement with the California insurance commissioner to cover applied behavioral analysis (ABA) therapy for members with autism whenever the therapy is medically necessary. Under the agreement, the insurers will maintain a network of providers who can offer treatment, not reject any claims for medically necessary ABA, and create dedicated customer service units to handle ABA-related inquiries and requests for coverage, authorization and payment, reported LifeHealthPro. Article

> Highmark is launching a new practice management company that will provide organizational consulting, electronic health records expertise and administrative support for physicians groups. In addition to providing a new revenue source for the insurer, the new company will help Highmark form relationships with non-affiliated physician practices, reported the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Article

> Rhode Island's insurance commissioner has rejected Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island's request for a 2.4 percent rate increase, instead allowing a 1.1 percent rate decrease, reported Insurance & Financial Advisor. Article

> Excellus BlueCross BlueShield CEO David Klein announced Tuesday that he's retiring at the end of the year, reported the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. Klein served as CEO for nine years and worked in the health insurance industry for 40 years. Excellus plans to name Klein's successor in April. Article

> And Finally... Wanna be smarter? Get a whiff of some rosemary. Article