May 23, 2014 |
UnitedHealth Group has declared its experiment with using Comcast's video-on-demand service to deliver a weight-loss program a success. But the Minnesota health insurer has no immediate plans to continue using cable TV to coax clients to adopt healthier habits that could lead to lower health-care costs. Instead, it is selling a Web-based version of the program to employers who want to prevent expensive chronic medical problems in overweight workers. Such efforts to make weight-loss programs easily available to more consumers are becoming more popular, experts say. The goal of the program, offered to Comcast viewers in Philadelphia and Knoxville, Tenn., was for participants at risk of developing diabetes to lose 5 percent to 7 percent of their body weight.
May 18, 2014 |
In a gritty industrial park tucked inside a middle-class Bensalem neighborhood, John F. McGeever III is living his dream. Since he was a teenager working for his father in the firm founded by his grandfather in 1929, McGeever wanted nothing more than to own the Charles Schillinger Co. His father sold the company in 1988. Seven years later, McGeever mortgaged everything and bought back the small metal-spinning and fabrication firm. "I always wanted to have the company," said McGeever, 58, a tall, lean, intense man with close-cropped white hair.
May 12, 2014 |
The costs of long-term care for the elderly are a wild card that can make or break retirement. "If people run out of money, it's often because of long-term care costs," Jack VanDerhei said at a pension conference this month in Philadelphia. But only a smattering of Americans have long-term care insurance, or enough of the insurance, said VanDerhei, research director at the Employee Benefit Research Institute and an expert in the financial aspects of retirement. Current forms of long-term care insurance provide a limited pool of money that can be used to pay for nursing homes and other forms of care that health insurance does not cover and that can quickly deplete retirement savings.
May 12, 2014 |
Success is good. But too much success can leave some people grumbling. Take Independence Blue Cross. The region's largest health insurer anticipated enrolling 100,000 new members in Pennsylvania and through AmeriHealth New Jersey when the Affordable Care Act marketplace opened in October. As of April 30, the company had signed up a total of 283,000 members in new plans, almost three times as many as it expected. And 89 percent of them have paid their premiums. Great news, right?
May 4, 2014 |
David B. Phillips, 75, of Pennsauken, wasn't just a member of the Martin Luther Chapel in Pennsauken. His late parents, Ralph and Elsa, in the 1940s helped found the chapel, part of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. "Church was one of the important passions of his life," daughter Karen Wright said. "He was president of the congregation at one point," she said, and at other times its treasurer and Sunday school superintendent. On Tuesday, April 29, Mr. Phillips, who retired in 2001 as manager of the shareholder services department at Cigna, the health insurance services firm, died of heart disease at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden.
April 25, 2014 |
A CENTER CITY lawyer who masterminded a seven-year slip-and-fall racket that bilked insurance firms out of nearly $400,000 evaded arrest by committing suicide, District Attorney Seth Williams said yesterday. Andrew H. Gaber, 52, of Delaware County, shot himself to death last week. He was scheduled to be arrested yesterday as a result of a nearly two-year grand-jury investigation that ensnared him and dozens of others whom he lured into helping him rip off some 21 insurance companies.
April 22, 2014 |
Sue Schick, 52, president of UnitedHealthcare Pennsylvania and Delaware, claims she was mortified last month when, in the process of honoring her with the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce's Paradigm Award, the master of ceremonies read entries from her seventh-grade yearbook. She shouldn't have been. The yearbook showed early evidence of the leadership abilities that prompted the chamber to name her 2014's top female business executive. "In the Girl Scout cookie sales, we didn't think we could surpass the previous year," Schick recalled.
April 20, 2014 |
Lou Franzini was about to give up. For two months, he had been trying to get re-enrolled in the health plan he chose on the Affordable Care Act's marketplace. The former banker, 63, had been paying for the plan since December, but then it was arbitrarily canceled. And his calls to the marketplace always elicited a similar response: Nope, can't be done. Even the support of U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach, (R., Pa.) and Independence Blue Cross couldn't sway the decision. "I'd call the marketplace and the rep would say, 'No, we have to talk to Independence,' " Franzini, of Exton, said.
April 13, 2014 |
Nearly 800 public comments - overwhelmingly negative - about Gov. Corbett's alternative Medicaid expansion proposal were submitted online by Friday's deadline, far more than for other states that offered less complicated plans. With the federal comment period over, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services technically could act at any time. But public-policy experts say that the complexity of this plan - the only one in the nation to link an expansion of coverage for a new population to changes in insurance, including benefit cuts, for some current Medicaid recipients - will likely lengthen negotiations that typically take months.
April 6, 2014 |
Crozer-Keystone Health System and Cigna-HealthSpring are in a dispute over a Medicare Advantage contract that expires April 30. It's not unusual for negotiations between hospitals and health insurers to go down to the wire, but in this case, Crozer, Delaware County's biggest health system, insists HealthSpring, a unit of Cigna, has ended the Crozer contract. "Cigna-HealthSpring terminated our participation when we did not agree to their demand that we accept rates below Medicare rates and significantly below our cost to provide care to their members," Crozer said.