KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

High Deductible Plans, New Individual Policies Reshape Insurance Market

Local news accounts detail changes in the market. In Iowa, Wells Fargo employees are choosing between high deductible options, while in Minnesota one insurer is rolling out a new individual policy that may help buoy its position when the state health exchanges begin operation.

Des Moines Register: Reflecting Larger Shift, Wells Fargo Moves To High-Deductible Health Plans
More than 8,000 Wells Fargo employees in Iowa must choose before the end of the year between two types of high-deductible health insurance plans. The bank, which has roughly 12,000 employees in Iowa, is getting rid of traditional health insurance and offering a choice between high-deductible insurance plans tied to health reimbursement accounts or health savings accounts (Belz, 11/10).

Minneapolis Start Tribune: Health Plan Gets A Jump On Reform
The number of Minnesotans covered by privately purchased health plans rose from 187,000 in 2002 to 235,000 in 2011. An even greater increase is expected in 2014 with the launching of health insurance exchanges created by the 2010 federal reform law. … All of which explains the timing of HealthPartners' new Compass health plan on the individual market. The Bloomington-based insurer is hoping to offer an enticing health plan for the growing number of individually insured Minnesotans today and to build brand loyalty and identity by the time the insurance exchanges take effect (Olson, 11/10).

Meanwhile, an Oregon insurer comes under scrutiny.

The Lund Report: Regulators Didn't Question $56 Million Payout by Regence BlueCross BlueShield
When state regulators approved a 12.8 percent rate increase for Regence BlueCross BlueShield earlier this year, they were aware that the insurer had dipped into its surplus account and given a $56 million dividend to its holding company just five months earlier (Lund-Muzikant, 11/10). 

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