Minn. Blues hires former UnitedHealth exec; Aetna CEO says individual mandate is weak;

> UnitedHealth is among five insurers, including Amerigroup, Centene and Molina Healthcare, that won Medicaid contracts in Washington state. The 18-month contracts are estimated to be worth $2.5 billion in industry revenue and go into effect July 1, reported Fox Business. Article

> Tiered and limited network health plans become increasingly popular are confusing patients and physicians, reported FiercePracticeManagement. The problem is insurers use different cost and quality measures to rank physicians, causing doctors to be placed in different tiers for different plans. Patients also don't understand whether they pay higher copayments for some doctors because they are better physicians or less cost-efficient. Article

> Half of the states have Medicaid enrollment easier in 2010 by streamlining the process and using technology to verify citizenship requirements, according to a report released Wednesday. Also, eight states expanded their eligibility rules allowing more children to qualify for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program, reported Kaiser Health News. Article

> Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota has hired Kenneth Burdick as its new chief executive officer, reported the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Burdick most recently worked as CEO of Coventry Health Care's Medicaid and Behavioral Health businesses and CEO of UnitedHealth's Medicare company, Secure Horizons. He also was CEO of the UnitedHealth's commercial insurance business. Burdick, who will start mid-February, is replacing Patrick Geraghty who became CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida. Article

> The health reform law's individual mandate is weak; therefore, concerns that the U.S. Supreme Court won't uphold the law are overblown, Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini said. "Even as it exists today, the individual mandate is weak and still presents problems because the penalty is so low," Bertolini told Reuters. "If you get rid of it, I don't know that it makes all that much of a difference." Article

And Finally... Cops get paid to drink alcohol and eat junk food. Article