WellPoint, UnitedHealth, Aetna battle for XLHealth; Cigna wants expat plans exempt from reform;

> WellPoint, UnitedHealth, and Aetna are battling to acquire XLHealth Corp., a managed care provider for chronically ill Medicare members, Bloomberg Businessweek reports. Offers for Baltimore-based XLHealth may value the company at up to $2 billion. Article

> Oregon's insurance commissioner is joining the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) to help implement insurance exchanges, reports Healthwatch. Next month, Oregon Insurance Administrator Teresa Miller will start work as a senior adviser, working with state governments to create the new insurance marketplaces. Article

> Cigna wants the Obama administration to exempt medical plans it sells to Americans overseas from the health reform law, Bloomberg Businessweek reports. If it doesn't get an exemption to the medical-loss ratio requirement, Cigna said it will move its management positions for the expatriate plans to offshore locations, potentially threatening 1,100 jobs. UnitedHealth and Aetna also have requested similar exemptions. Article

> Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina is struggling to fill some of its 500 job openings for accountants, analysts, registered nurses, and technicians, the Charleston Business Journal reports. Although the state unemployment rate is 11 percent, many of the open positions require special training or certification. Article

> Insurers in California made $105 billion in revenue in 2010, and five companies--Kaiser Permanente, Anthem Blue Cross, Health Net, Blue Shield of California, and UnitedHealthcare--accounted for 75 percent of that total, according to a report from California HealthCare Foundation. Report (.pdf)

> Private insurers are often forced to offer significantly higher payments to hospitals in concentrated markets with less competition, according to a study from the National Institute for Health Care Management. For example, the average hospital in concentrated markets received $32,411 for each commercially insured patient undergoing coronary angioplasty, or one and a half times the $21,626 received in competitive markets. Study (.pdf)

And Finally...
The next time you walk into a room and can't remember why, blame the doorway. Article

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