Health insurers in the news: May 19-26

The following insurers made headlines this week. They are listed below, beginning with the most recent. 

1. Blue Cross downgrades UAB Hospital to tier 2
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama downgraded UAB Hospital in Birmingham, Ala., from Tier 1 to Tier 2 status, citing new tier criteria focused on healthcare spending. 

2. Humana to hire 100 new workers in Florida
Louisville, Ky.-based Humana is looking to hire 100 full-time and seasonal employees in Miramar, Fla.

3. Aetna CEO offers no word on headquarters staying in Connecticut
Despite questions revolving around the future location of its headquarters, Hartford, Conn.-based Aetna remained fairly quiet about plans to potentially move its home base.

4. Missouri bars Aetna-Humana merger for certain insurance products
Missouri's insurance department issued a preliminary order that would ban merged insurance giants Aetna and Humana from selling certain insurance products in the state.  

5. Anthem CEO: Insurer 'working extremely well' with Cigna; merger decision expected in July
Earlier this week, a series of letters reviewed by The Wall Street Journal unveiled the proposed merger between Anthem and Cigna could be delayed or derailed due to squabbles between the insurers. But Anthem's CEO begs to differ. 

6. Florida Blue agrees to pay woman's $53k bill
A Florida woman decided to fight her $53,274 medical bill, and ended up winning.

7. BCBSNC CEO calls ACA losses 'unsustainable'
Certain insurers — like UnitedHealth and Humana — are dropping from the Affordable Care Act exchanges due to financial losses, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina's CEO feels no differently. 

8. California health insurer gains $160M in Series C funding
Clover Health, a San Francisco-based health insurance startup, obtained $160 million in Series C venture funding, setting its total raised in venture funding at almost $300 million.

9. Anthem, Cigna bicker behind closed doors, putting antitrust approval on the line: 3 things to know
Antitrust approvals for the $48 billion proposed merger between Anthem and Cigna could be delayed or derailed by squabbles between the two insurers.

10. Ore. insurer bleeds $117M on individual marketplace
Premera Blue Cross reported a whopping $117.5 million loss on individual health plans in 2015. 

11. Cigna sets goal to cut opioid use by 25 percent
Cigna provided details on a plan to help curb the opioid problem in the U.S. A major element of Cigna's efforts is a plan to decrease the use of opioids by 25 percent among the health insurer's own customers over the next three years.

12. UnitedHealth's exit from New Jersey exchange marks 27th state dropped
With its recently announced departure from New Jersey's ACA marketplace, UnitedHealth has officially dropped from the exchanges in 27 states.

13. Humana launches orthopedic bundle in Tenn., expands Ohio bundles
Humana is launching a total hip and knee joint replacement bundled payment program in Tennessee with four orthopedic specialty groups, and expanding its bundles in Ohio with the addition of two more specialty groups.

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