KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Insurer News: Anthem Blue Cross And Blue Shield To Play ‘Significant’ Role In Va. Implementation; Cigna Report Lauds Consumer-Directed Plans

Richmond Times-Dispatch: Marking its 75th year in business in Virginia, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield "is facing perhaps the biggest challenge in its history with the implementation of the national health care overhaul plan" and the company's "role in how the reform will be implemented in Virginia will be significant." C. Burke King, president of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Virginia, "said the company's millions of individual and business customers in the state should be prepared for pricing changes, but that the company also is working to provide incentives to individuals, businesses and health-care providers to reduce costs." Jill Hanken, staff attorney with the Virginia Poverty Law Center said the company is "in a position to be the leader for other companies in Virginia. … First, to make sure that the new insurance reforms that are already in place are properly applied to their customers, and second, to see that the implementation we are expecting over the next few years happens very smoothly with consumers in mind" (Blackwell, 11/8).

American Medical News: A report by insurer Cigna "found that compared with members of other plans, people enrolled in consumer-directed plans were more likely to make key positive health spending choices: avoiding costly and unnecessary emergency department visits, switching to generic drugs and learning about their health conditions." However a separate study released by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research "found that some people enrolled in high-deductible health plans - particularly those who don't have a health savings account attached or money put aside in one - delayed necessary health care, echoing earlier research that found when people in consumer-directed health plans are under financial pressure, they cut back on needed care along with unnecessary care" (Berry, 11/8).

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