Health Insurance News: Cigna Earnings Climb, Small Businesses Drop Coverage

A selection of news stories on issues affecting the insurance industry.

The Wall Street Journal: Cigna Earnings Surge; Layoffs Planned
The Bloomfield, Conn., managed-care company significantly boosted its full-year adjusted earnings guidance after posting better results than Wall Street expected. The company Thursday also announced a restructuring plan that includes reducing the size of its global workforce about 4%, affecting 1,300 workers amid a mix of layoffs and hiring. Cigna continued a streak of "beat and raise" third-quarter reports for large health insurers. ... Like its peers, Cigna has benefited from signs patients are using health-care services a bit less than expected (Kamp, 11/1).

Los Angeles Times: Fewer Than 50 Percent Of Small Business Employees Offered Health Benefits
A new study finds that 49% of U.S. workers in small businesses were offered health insurance in 2010, down from 58% in 2003. Firms with 100 or more employees were far more likely to provide health benefits, at 90% in both 2003 and 2010, according to the report from the Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation that does healthcare research. Low-wage workers in small businesses were the least likely to be offered coverage (Terhune, 11/1).

Kaiser Health News: Halvorson: Premium Costs In The Exchanges Will 'Depend Entirely' On Participation – The KHN Interview
George C. Halvorson, the chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente -- one of the nation's largest not-for-profit health plans, has often said there is no better job in health care than his. But last month, he announced plans to retire. ... Preparing to participate in the law's state-based insurance exchanges tops the list of implementation challenges Kaiser Permanente will face, Halvorson says (11/1).

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