Leading U.S.-based Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), Anthem Inc. (ANTM), recently declared a multi-year extension of its partnership with Inovalon Holdings, Inc. (INOV).
According to SlickCharts, as of 6 January 2017, there are 506 companies whose stocks make up the S&P 500 stock market index. According to Standard and Poor, 418 of those companies pay dividends. And according to Google Finance, which provided the raw data for each of those companies, the following chart shows the approximate stock prices with respect to the indicated annual dividends for each those 418 firms as of 6 January 2017. After making this chart, we couldn't help but notice the four companies that appear in the upper left corner of the chart, whose very high stock prices and very low projected annual dividends per share make them outliers when compared to nearly all the other data points in the chart. So we went the extra mile and recalculated the power law relationship we found between annual dividends per share and the stock prices for the 414 other companies of the S&P 500 that pay dividends to their shareholders. The four dividend paying firms whose stocks and dividends per share that we excluded from this second chart are: Cigna Corporation (NYSE: CI), Pioneer Natural Resources Company (NYSE: PXD), Global Payments Inc. (NYSE: GPN), and Cooper Companies Inc. (NYSE: COO). Having established a considerably stronger correlation by excluding the share prices and annual dividends per share of these four S&P 500 companies, we now have a way to assess how a given company's share price compares to its dividend paying peers, where you can use the tool below to see what share price might be considered to be typical for a S&P 500 that pays the amount of annual dividends per share that you enter. If you're accessing this article that republishes our RSS news feed, please click here to access a working version of the following tool. Dividends per Share Data Input Data Values Annual Cash Dividends per Share Estimated Share Price Results Calculated Results Values Estimated "Typical" Share Price for S&P 500 Company There's a lot that goes into whether or not a given firm's stock price might be considered to be high or low with respect to the "typical" share price that our tool above calculates. A growth stock may have a small dividend, where the company's owners are choosing to direct its earnings and available free cash flow toward investments that promise to rapidly boost the firm's revenues or increase its share of the markets in which it operates, which therefore tend to have high share prices with respect to whatever dividends they might pay. Regardless of its share price, if a company doesn't pay dividends, it's technically a growth stock, even if it was a firm that previously paid dividends but stopped because of some form of economic distress, where you can identify the firms that fall into the latter category their very low prices per share. In January 2017, there were 88 non-dividend paying firms in the S&P 500 that collectively account for 15% of the S&P 500's total market capitalization. Value stocks and income stocks, on the other hand, are often firms whose growth prospects are more limited, where the owners of the company have chosen to draw a regular income through cash dividend payments that are supported by the firm's earnings and cash flow. Compared to growth firms, the stocks of value and income firms tend to have considerably lower stock prices with respect to their dividends per share - mainly because of their slower growth prospects, but also in part because they are actively pulling market value out of the company whenever they make dividend payments to their shareholders. Telling which kind of company is which can be challenging, but that's where a tool like the one we just created above might be useful. At the very least, it can give you something a bit more tangible to go on than you can usually find in mainstream media reporting on the topic!
When it comes to performance reviews, these leaders think it's time to break with tradition.
Coauthored by David Squires This was a tumultuous year in health care and elsewhere. Wherever we looked, the improbable and unbelievable became true and believable: from Brexit to a President-elect Trump to alleged foreign sabotage of our political institutions. Historians will dissect the remnants of these events for decades. For us, for now, let's focus on health care, which is plenty. Trump (and the Republicans) emerge ascendant. President-elect Donald Trump will take the oath of office on January 20, 2017, joined by Republican majorities in both houses of Congress, 68 of 99 state legislative chambers, and 31 of 50 governorships. The Republican Party's commitment to repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act could not be clearer, but stubborn political realities and technical issues are already forcing Congress to consider delaying the effective date of any repeal by up to four years. Though Republicans can accomplish a repeal without any help from Democrats (using the budget reconciliation process), patching together a replacement package will require eight Democratic votes in the Senate. That will be a challenge, as will managing the transition and finding consensus among divided Republicans on how or whether to cover the more than 20 million Americans who will likely lose insurance if the ACA is repealed. Next year is likely to be fascinating for national health policy, both technically and politically. More important, the lives of tens of millions of Americans will be deeply affected by what the new Republican majority tries to do -- and is able to accomplish. Uninsured rate hits historic low. During 2016, the proportion of Americans lacking health insurance reached an historic low: 8.9 percent. Since 2010, the number of Americans without insurance has fallen by more than 20 million. The result: fewer medical bill problems and more accessible and affordable care for patients, and less uncompensated care for providers. Premium increases and insurer exits raise concerns about ACA marketplaces. This was a turbulent year for the individual health insurance market. A number of high-profile insurers exited the marketplaces created under the Affordable Care Act. Double-digit premium increases in some marketplaces added to concern about their stability. However, the impact of these premium spikes on marketplace customers was dampened by federal subsidies that absorbed the costs for more than 80 percent of purchasers. And some of the premium growth likely reflected one-time adjustments to the expiration of time-limited federal programs (reinsurance, risk corridors) that had buffered insurers against unpredicted health expenditures among their new customers. While fears of marketplace collapse are overblown, these developments do signal the need for reforms in the ACA, should it survive the swelling efforts to repeal it. Another point to keep in mind: in the employer-sponsored insurance market, where the majority of Americans get their insurance, premium growth has actually slowed since the passage of the Affordable Care Act. With MACRA looming, value-based payment spreads. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued the final regulation implementing the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) in 2016. MACRA will transform how Medicare pays clinicians and accelerate trends toward value-based payment, which is designed to pay for the value rather than the volume of services. As of early 2016, 30 percent of Medicare payments were tied to "alternative payment models," as were 25 percent of private insurers' payments. Whether the new administration will be as committed to payment reform as the departing one remains to be seen. The Innovation Center takes off the gloves. One player driving this payment transition assumed a more prominent role in 2016. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI), created under the ACA, has broad authority to experiment with how our largest public insurance programs pay for services. This year, they took a fair amount of heat for making providers' participation in some of their payment experiments mandatory rather than voluntary, and were forced to abandon one demonstration reducing payments for medications under Part B of Medicare. Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), Mr. Trump's nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services, has been a vocal critic of CMMI and its mandatory payment demonstrations. He seems likely to scale back some of its programs, and a repeal of the ACA could eliminate CMMI altogether. However, a Secretary Price might also find some of CMMI's broad authorities to be useful once he settles into his new office. Bipartisan bill reforms FDA, increases R&D. The 21st Century Cures Act, a rare bipartisan initiative, was passed by Congress and signed by President Obama in 2016. The bill increases funding for the National Institutes of Health, including for pioneering cancer and genomic research, and reforms and boosts funding for the Food and Drug Administration's approval process for pharmaceuticals and medical devices. The new law also dedicates $1 billion over the next two years to fight the opioid scourge devastating much of the country. Little-heralded features of the law promote interoperability among electronic health records, and consumers' access to their own digital health records. Insurer mergers prompt an antitrust reckoning. Four of the country's largest insurers are trying to become two, but not if the current Justice Department has anything to say about it. In July 2016, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch sued to block the Humana-Aetna and Anthem-Cigna mega-mergers, arguing that they would reduce competition and raise prices for consumers. Outrage over drug pricing yields smoke, but no fire, at least not yet. Sovaldi, Daraprim, Epipen--a spate of drug-pricing stories continued to grab headlines in 2016. Resulting congressional inquiries yielded numerous verbal floggings for drug company executives, but no concrete action to quell Americans' rising anger over their out-of-pocket spending for pharmaceuticals. President-elect Trump has pledged to control drug prices. Polls show that large majorities of the American public favor having Medicare negotiate drug prices, allowing drug reimportation from Canada, and other aggressive policies to reduce the growth in pharmaceutical spending. However, with Republicans in the majority, and pharma's lobbying muscle undisputed, the prospects of new legislation to deal with drug costs remain uncertain at best in 2017. Americans' lives are shortening. Finally, we learned this month that our life expectancy is going in the wrong direction. Though the change was small--a decline of about one month--it is just the latest evidence of disturbing deterioration in the general health of Americans, particularly working-class whites. The idea that for the first time in U.S. history our children may be less healthy than we are is deeply alarming, and should make improving the health of Americans a major national priority. Here's hoping for a happy, productive, and HEALTHIER new year. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
On Dec 27, we issued an updated research report on Aetna Inc. (AET).
UnitedHealth (UNH) has been able to beat all kinds of industry odds to emerge as a winner.
Obamacare has failed the American people, and things are only getting worse by the day: Even higher premiums. People who have signed up for the benchmark Obamacare plan will pay, on average, 25 percent more in premiums next year. That is more than three times the increase for 2016. On top of all that, the quality of the coverage is worse than expected. Americans are, in effect, paying more for less than what they were promised. Even higher deductibles. On one of the least expensive types of plans, deductibles for both individuals and families are going up by about 15 percent. Deductibles have gotten so high that it is essentially the equivalent of not even having health insurance. An even bigger bill for taxpayers. Because premiums have skyrocketed so much, so have the subsidies needed to prop up Obamacare. According to one independent study, taxpayers will pay nearly $10 billion more for subsidies in 2017. Even fewer choices. For 2016, only 2 percent of eligible customers had one insurer to choose from. For next year, that number has jumped to 17 percent. All of these trends are heading in the wrong direction. The trajectory we are on points to the likely possibility that Obamacare is already in what experts call a “death spiral,” where there is such little competition that costs skyrocket and the market collapses. Here's what Doug Badger of the Galen Institute wrote earlier this month: “Obamacare already is in a death spiral that is fast approaching its terminal point. That is because, despite billions in individual and corporate subsidies, insurers are bleeding money. … And 2015 will be remembered as Obamacare’s good old days. Since then, four of the country’s five largest insurers — Aetna, Humana, Cigna and UnitedHealthcare — have all but abandoned the exchanges. The fifth, Anthem, saw its stock price spike upwards last month minutes after its CEO told investors that his company might pull out in 2018. ... The insurer exodus has left more than one in five Americans with an exchange in which only one company participates. The consequences of dumping all the bad risks onto a single insurer are entirely predictable — that insurer will drop out of the market, leaving no insurers in the exchange. The program’s death spiral is irreversible.” The very real possibility of a death spiral picked up last spring, when insurers warned that their losses from Obamacare were “unsustainable.” The Hill reported on April 15: “Insurers say they are losing money on their ObamaCare plans at a rapid rate, and some have begun to talk about dropping out of the marketplaces altogether. … While analysts expect the market to stabilize once premiums rise and more young, healthy people sign up, some observers have not ruled out the possibility of a collapse of the market, known in insurance parlance as a ‘death spiral.’” Sure enough, as the summer unfolded and premium increases piled up, the death spiral began to take shape: “Obamacare ripples through Texas as health insurers propose steep rate hikes. … ‘The individual market is a market of last resort ... And that's not how it used to be,’ said Janna Hamstra, a benefits consultant in San Antonio whose firm, Hamstra Benefit Solutions, advises employers across Texas. ‘In our industry, they call it the death spiral ... As those premiums keep escalating, healthier individuals decide to self insure,’ she said.” (Houston Chronicle) “[Princeton University health economist Uwe Reinhardt] offers an especially thoughtful explanation of why he believes the Obamacare marketplaces won’t work. ‘Liberals think this will settle itself. Eventually, though, we all know about the death spiral that actuaries worry about, and I think what you’re seeing now is a mild version of that. These things accelerate, as premiums keep rising.’” (Vox) “‘I think what we should be expecting is premiums that are substantially higher, and I think there’s a real risk that other insurers pull out,’ said Michael Morrisey, a professor at the Texas A&M University School of Public Health. ‘We may be beginning to see the death spiral of insurance plans in the exchanges.’” (Texas Tribune) “Jeffrey Anderson, a senior fellow at the conservative Hudson Institute, said that the problem is that there is a high likelihood that no young people will ever sign up for Obamacare. ‘There are too many loopholes, too many ways to get around paying if you don't get insurance,’ Anderson told Business Insider. For this reason, Anderson does not believe that Obamacare will ever work and shows it is in a ‘slow-motion death spiral.’” (Business Insider) “‘That’s going to be the future,’ said Roger Stark of the Washington Policy Center in Washington State. ‘What we’re seeing here is the beginning of a death spiral as far as exchanges are concerned as more companies pull out.’” (Fox News) “Democratic lawmakers pushing 'public option' amid ObamaCare woes. … ‘I think we're seeing the public option come back out of desperation,’ said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the conservative American Action Forum. ‘We’ve seen UnitedHealthcare groups, the Aetnas of the world withdraw from exchanges. … As a result, the kinds of people buying insurance there have very expensive medical bills -- insurers are losing money, as they try to cover those bills, jacking up the premiums, people move to other policies so it’s turning into the death spiral that everybody worried about,’ said Holtz-Eakin.” (Fox News) Indeed, even Democrats knew Obamacare was unraveling, and began plotting to impose government-run health care. Now they are digging in to defend the status quo. But the answer isn’t to ignore the problem. The situation is too dire. The time to act is now. This is the third piece in an ongoing series. Part 1: Repeal Is Relief Part 2: ObamaCare Has Failed
Aetna Inc. (AET) recently came under fire for having allegedly pulled out of Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges in 11 states, including the areas covered by the Justice Department lawsuit, in a bid to avoid antitrust claims.
On Dec 9, 2016, we have issued an updated research report on Anthem Inc. (ANTM).
Backtrack to 2008 to 2010, when the increasing costs and unaffordability of insurance and health care for Americans were a front-burner issue. They remain so today. Soon after coming into office, the new Obama administration worked for two years, in the name of health care "reform," to appease corporate stakeholders in our well-entrenched medical-industrial complex. The political question then was not what was in the best interests of patients and families, but how to gain the support of the major corporate players, especially the insurance, hospital, and drug industries. Following their huge campaign donations, sending more than 4,500 lobbyists to the Beltway (eight for every member of Congress) (1) and a rapidly revolving door of conflicts of interest, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA, or ACA and Obamacare) was passed by a narrow margin in Congress almost seven years ago. Today, it is obvious to all that patients are still not protected by good insurance coverage at affordable rates, and that the very name of the bill is a misnomer. The costs of health care keep rising at rapid rates as insurers, hospitals and drug companies blame others for these increases. None of these industries have contained costs as they pursue their business model of making profits, with their highest priority maximizing revenues for their CEOs and shareholders. As we are now seeing, insurers exit markets when they are not sufficiently profitable, even as health care stocks have soared to the highest sector of the S & P 500. Not only did the health insurance industry get some 20 million new enrollees as a result of the ACA (mostly through Medicaid expansion), but insurers gained many ways to decrease their risk for covering enrollees' health care costs. These include offering plans covering as little as 60 percent of costs (bronze plans), receiving "risk corridor" funds protecting them from losses (now a court case), benefit designs that still discriminate against the sick, shrinking provider networks, restrictive drug formularies, offering limited-benefit bare-bones policies, and deceptive marketing practices. In no way have they contained costs, even as they have been subsidized by new enrollees through the exchanges. All the while, they have gained market power through consolidation as they consume 15 to 20 percent of U. S. health care expenditures, mostly through profiteering, administrative overhead, and bureaucratic waste. If their merger agreements survive court challenges, just three giants--Anthem/Cigna, United Health Group, and Aetna/Humana will collectively have a margin share exceeding more than 130 million Americans. (2) Insurers have segmented the market in their own interests, shifting the burden of care of sicker patients to public programs. They have increasingly privatized both Medicare and Medicaid, resulting in higher administrative costs compared with public Medicare and Medicaid. They also maximize profits by cutting staff and value of coverage, resulting in worse outcomes for patients compared with public plans. (3) Most people are unaware that the government already pays for about 64 percent of total health care spending--about $1.9 trillion in 2013, much of that by subsidizing private health care industries, especially private health insurance. There is a long history to this subsidization, dating back to policy decisions after World War II giving tax exemptions to employers for their costs of providing employer-sponsored health insurance. The ACA bailed out the industry in 2010, which is once again calling for more government subsidies to stay in business. A just-released estimate by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) acknowledges that the three-year risk corridor deficit from 2014 through 2016 for insurer losses will exceed $14 billion. (4) The Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee for Taxation estimate that the net subsidy from the federal government in 2016 for health insurance for people under age 65 and costs for Medicaid enrollees under age 65 will be $660 billion. (5) That estimate includes effects of preferential tax treatment for employer-sponsored coverage. We can anticipate that insurers will make good on their threats to leave the market when we recall that 2.4 million private Medicare beneficiaries were abandoned in 2002, when they lost their Medicare + Choice coverage despite infusion of more federal dollars. (6) The incoming Trump administration and Republican-controlled Congress will be pressured to continue a further federal bailout of the private health insurance industry. But why whip a dead horse? It is past time to learn that corporate greed and the business model do not, and will never, serve the common good. As Wendell Potter, former Cigna executive and author of Deadly Spin: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans, observes: Folks, we are guilty of magical thinking. We've fallen for insurers' deception and misdirection, hook, line and sinker. And many of us can't be persuaded that we are being duped. Meanwhile, the shareholders of the big for-profits are laughing all the way to the bank. Every single day. (7) We--Americans needing health care, employers, federal and state governments, and all of us taxpayers--cannot afford another bailout of the health insurance industry, especially since we have a real fix-- single-payer, not-for-profit national health insurance, Medicare for All. It will provide universal access to care for our entire population, save us all money, give us free choice of physician and hospital, and improve our health care outcomes in a reformed system dedicated to service and the public interest. Corporate stakeholders with their political and economic power, and their lobbyists (most unregistered) are again pushing for continued government bailouts of this industry, which has not earned it. Another bailout cannot reverse the health insurance industry's continuing death spiral. John Geyman, M.D. is the author of The Human Face of ObamaCare: Promises vs. Reality and What Comes Next and How Obamacare is Unsustainable: Why We Need a Single-Payer Solution For All Americans visit: http://www.johngeymanmd.org Sources: 1. Eaton, J, Pell, MB. Lobbyists swarm capitol to influence health reform. Washington, D.C. The Center for Public Integrity, February 23, 2010) 2. Mattioli, D, Hoffman, L, Mathews, AW. Anthem hears $48 billion Cigna deal. Wall Street Journal, July 23, 2015: A1 3. Geyman, JP. The health insurance industry's last-ditch holdup. The Huffington Post, August 15, 2016.) 4. Blase, B. A taxpayer bailout of ObamaCare insurers just got a lot more expensive. Forbes, November 21, 2016.) 5. CBO and JCT. Federal subsidies for health insurance coverage for people under 65: 2016 to 2026. March 24, 2016. 6. Waldholz, M. Prescriptions. Medicare seniors face confusion as HMOs bail out of program. Wall Street Journal, October 3, 2002: D4.) 7. (Potter, W. It's way past time for us to stop deluding ourselves about private health insurers. The Progressive Populist, September 1, 2016: p. 20.) -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Cigna Corp. disclosed its adjusted 2016 income from operations will be more than $2 billion this year as an independent company.
There’s nothing odd about the founders of a health insurance company writing policy proposals after an election where the winner campaigned relentlessly on ending Obamacare. And Wednesday morning, Mario Schlosser and Josh Kushner, the founders of Oscar, a health care startup that sells insurance on the state exchanges Obamacare created, did just that. They say they want more competition in the insurance industry, and they think allowing individuals to buy health care plans with pre-tax dollars would make that happen. Oscar’s founders also expressed openness to ideas Republicans have floated in the past. What’s interesting in this case is that Kushner is the brother of Jared Kushner, who is married to Ivanka Trump, the eldest daughter of President-elect Donald Trump. Jared Kushner is also serving on the executive committee of the presidential transition, and could potentially take a senior job in the White House. Venture capitalist and Facebook board member Peter Thiel, who also sits on the executive committee of the presidential transition, is also an investor in Oscar. A spokeswoman for Josh Kushner and Oscar declined to comment beyond his blog post. Spokespeople for Thiel and the Trump transition did not return requests for comment. Anti-nepotism laws bar Kushner from taking a paid job in the White House, though he is exploring getting around that rule by taking an unpaid role advising his father-in-law, The New York Times reports. On the campaign trail, Trump railed against Obamacare and promised to replace it with something better ― though he never said what his alternative was exactly. He told The Wall Street Journal last week that he may try the virtually impossible task of keeping popular parts of the law, like allowing children to stay on their parents’ plans into their 20s and barring insurance companies from denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions, while still reducing costs. But in all likelihood, any changes a Trump administration and a Republican-controlled Congress make would be far more favorable to insurance companies. That would create the potential for a conflict of interest ― or in the very least, the appearance of one ― if Oscar were a run-of-the-mill health insurance company. But the potential is amplified due to the fact that Oscar was started for the express purpose of making money on the state exchanges for individual insurance. Oscar sells insurance through its website and app directly to individuals who aren’t covered by employer insurance or a government program. Individuals who aren’t covered are required to buy insurance or pay a penalty under what is called the individual mandate. The federal government partially subsidizes the plans that Oscar sells. Precisely how big that subsidy depends on the type of plan and how much money the person buying it makes. Federal conflict of interest rules say executive branch employees can’t make decisions that affect their family’s finances. That means that even if Jared Kushner accepted a job in the White House, which he has not yet, his brother Josh’s business falls outside the scope of the conflict of interest laws for federal employees. However, “there might be some question of whether it is appropriate to weigh in on decisions that have an enormous impact on [his] brother’s assets,” said Richard Painter, a University of Minnesota law professor who was the chief ethics lawyer under President George W. Bush. [Oscar] lost $45 million in just the past three months, and a total of more than $230 million in the past 21 months. Painter, who endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, said he would put Oscar “fairly low down the alleged conflicts of interest in the incoming Trump administration.” But the conflict is emblematic, he said, of “how the private sector responded to Obamacare.” If Obamacare is repealed, a Trump administration is “going to be hurting a lot of people who invested in the system the way it is now... People they know and people they don’t know who depend on government being predictable.” Oscar “may be a conflict that helps to temper their decision-making,” Painter said. Whether the Trump administration’s decisions could put Oscar on a stable financial path is unclear. The company lost $45 million in just the past three months, and a total of more than $230 million in the past 21 months. Like other insurance companies, Oscar’s founders thought that the new individual marketplaces that Obamacare created would be a large and profitable. While some insurers have profitably sold insurance on the exchanges, Oscar has been unable to. Oscar has spent heavily on cute ads ― it’s hard not to see them if you ride the New York City subway ― but most people opt for established brands like Blue Cross and Blue Shield or Cigna. Oscar is also different from the massive insurance companies in that it doesn’t have a diversified revenue stream like corporate plans or government health care programs. That means that while companies like Aetna can choose to either absorb losses in the individual plan market or simply pull out and focus its business elsewhere (Aetna choose the latter in August). Oscar has to date raised a reported $400 million in venture capital because Oscar is losing money on Obamacare, and Obamacare is Oscar’s entire business. Indeed, the core bet of Oscar ― that a startup with a slick app could outsmart the entire insurance industry ― is belied by who has managed to be successful selling plans on the exchanges: companies with a track record of selling plans to individual buyers. That’s experience you don’t get coding apps. But only Oscar has an intimate connection to a top adviser to President-elect Trump. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
VideoWhat’s the best way to mount a campaign against an insurance giant that has capitalized on narrow networks, higher deductibles and is now using “TV doctors” from Grey's anatomy, Scrubs and even the long running classic M*A*S*H to reach out to the public to encourage medical check-ups? Hint: Use Doctors #IRL, [...]
Now that the presidency of Donald Trump is certain, Obamacare is shrouded in uncertainty