KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Aetna Quarterly Profits Up Amid Record Membership And Revenue

The insurer's bottom line was helped by its acquisition of Coventry Health Care. Meanwhile, HealthSouth reported that its second-quarter profits were cut nearly in half.

The Wall Street Journal: Aetna Beats Estimates, Raises Outlook
Aetna Inc. said its second-quarter profit rose as the insurer posted record medical membership and revenue, while it continued to enjoy benefits from its acquisition of Coventry Health Care Inc. The results surpassed analysts' expectations (Calia, 7/29).

The Wall Street Journal: HealthSouth Profit Nearly Halved, But Beats Expectations
HealthSouth Corp.'s second-quarter profit was cut nearly in half, but results beat expectations as the provider of rehabilitative and surgical health care benefited from an expanded ownership stake in UMass Memorial Health Care and a settlement with the Internal Revenue Service. … HealthSouth, like other health-care companies, is expected to benefit from an improving economy and a wave of newly insured patients who have begun to seek treatment. … Under the Affordable Care Act, up to 26 million people are expected to gain coverage over the next few years through expanded state-run Medicaid programs and through the new, online marketplaces that allow consumers to buy coverage. Many who were previously uninsured already received hospital care, but sometimes racked up bills that were never paid (Armental, 7/28).

In other industry news, doctors' groups are pressuring the government to add more detail when it releases data about how much drug makers pay physicians.

The Wall Street Journal's Pharmalot: Docs Complain To CMS About 'Sunshine' Data Disclosures
A group of medical societies and pharmaceutical industry trade groups is pushing the government to flesh out data that will be published next month showing how much drug makers pay doctors. They sent a letter today to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to ask the agency to explain what context will be provided to help the public understand the justification for payments, such as speaking fees and grants used to bankroll clinical research (Loftus, 7/28).

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