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Week in pictures

Published December 04, 2015 - 2:36pm CST

Zurich navigates various trials and tribulations, some mergers see more success than others, and AIG gets a dose of real talk in Business Insurance's week in pictures.

Senate approves bill to kill health reform law 'Cadillac' tax

By: Jerry Geisel

Published December 04, 2015 - 11:19am CST

Budget legislation repealing key provisions of the health care reform law was passed by the Senate last week, however, President Barack Obama has made it clear he plans to veto the bill.

House Speaker Ryan wants to replace health care reform law

By: Thomson Reuters

Published December 03, 2015 - 2:57pm CST

Never mind provisions to the Affordable Care Act — last week, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., divulged that Republicans will soon unveil a plan to replace the health care reform law in its entirety.

President Obama threatens veto of bill eviscerating health reform law

By: Jerry Geisel

Published December 02, 2015 - 2:45pm CST

President Barack Obama has the power to veto legislation passed by Congress and he has made it clear he isn't afraid to wield it.

Hepatitis C drugmaker's high prices ignored consequences: Senate panel

By: Shelby Livingston

Published December 02, 2015 - 2:10pm CST

An investigation has determined that pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences Inc. was unconcerned with patient access when it settled on the exorbitant price tags of its hepatitis C drugs, Sovaldi and Harvoni.

U.S. justices cast doubt on scope of Vermont health care data law

By: Thomson Reuters

Published December 02, 2015 - 1:26pm CST

The reach of a 2005 Vermont health care data collection law looks to be limited, based on the deliberations of members of the U.S. Supreme Court last week.

Participants balk at proposed Central States pension cuts

By: Jerry Geisel

Published December 02, 2015 - 10:06am CST

The financially troubled Central States, Southeast and Southwest Areas Pension plan's proposal to cut benefits isn't sitting well with hundreds of its participants.

Most nonprofits have not sought accommodation to contraceptive mandate

By: Shelby Livingston

Published December 01, 2015 - 1:29pm CST

The health care reform law's so-called contraceptive mandate is a contentious issue, but only a handful of nonprofits offering health benefits have requested an exemption from its requirements.

Illinois to make full December pension payment

By: Thomson Reuters

Published December 01, 2015 - 12:10pm CST

(Reuters) — Illinois will make the full $560 million December contribution to its retirement systems after the November pension payment was delayed by the state's ongoing budget impasse, a spokesman for the state comptroller said Tuesday.

UnitedHealth CEO defends possible exit from public health insurance exchanges

By: Thomson Reuters

Published December 01, 2015 - 9:42am CST

UnitedHealth Group CEO Stephen Hemsley is calling the insurer's 2015 expansion into two dozen public health insurance exchanges a "bad decision."

FSA rollover to retirement plan proposal introduced

By: Jerry Geisel

Published November 23, 2015 - 2:39pm CST

Those unused FSA funds may no longer go to waste if legislation introduced in the House of Representatives last week gets passed.

Utility temporarily withdraws captive benefit funding plan

By: Jerry Geisel

Published November 23, 2015 - 12:15pm CST

In a move described as temporary, St. Louis-based utility company Laclede Gas Co. has withdrawn its application for permission to use its South Carolina captive insurer to fund life insurance and long-term disability risks.

HHS proposes boost in health care plans' out-of-pocket limits

By: Jerry Geisel

Published November 23, 2015 - 12:03pm CST

In 2017, employees may be on the hook for even more of their health care expenses, if newly proposed regulations are approved.

Premium hikes raise questions of motives, PBGC's future

By: Jerry Geisel

Published November 22, 2015 - 12:01am CST

Deborah Forbes was stunned when she learned that a budget deal congressional leaders and the Obama administration hammered out included provisions that again boost insurance premiums employers must pay the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.

Bumper haul of expensive new drugs heads to U.S., Europe

By: Thomson Reuters

Published November 20, 2015 - 10:13am CST

The brisk flow of costly new prescription drugs into the U.S. and European markets is gaining momentum at a startling pace.

UnitedHealth may exit Obamacare individual exchanges

By: Thomson Reuters

Published November 19, 2015 - 10:27am CST

Insurer cites weak enrollment and high costs as it weighs a pullout from federal health care exchanges in 2017.

Supreme Court sets briefing schedule in contraceptive challenge

By: Shelby Livingston

Published November 18, 2015 - 2:38pm CST

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday set the dates for religious nonprofit organizations who are challenging the health care reform law's so-called contraceptive mandate to file briefs.

Despite PBGC deficit, sharp premium hikes stir opposition

By: Shelby Livingston

Published November 18, 2015 - 12:45pm CST

Increases to premiums employers pay to the PBGC have been implemented to help cover the organization's record high deficit, however, critics say the hikes threaten the defined benefit pension system itself.

Hybrid pension sponsors catch a break on interest-crediting transition

By: Shelby Livingston

Published November 18, 2015 - 10:29am CST

Final IRS regulations on hybrid pension plans give plan sponsors another year to bring interest-crediting rates down to market value.

Chicago in tough battle to overturn ruling on pension reforms

Published November 17, 2015 - 1:42pm CST

(Reuters) — Chicago tried to convince a sometimes skeptical Illinois Supreme Court on Tuesday that a 2014 law deserves to survive a constitutional challenge because it aims to save two of the city’s retirement funds from insolvency by guaranteeing adequate funding.

Tackling the next costly, politically fraught health coverage challenge

By: Melanie Evans, Modern Healthcare

Published November 17, 2015 - 10:54am CST

Potential solutions for tackling the massively expensive dilemma of how Americans pay for long-term health insurance have been proposed, but none of them are ideal.

Pension reform, not E.U. capital rules, may influence U.K. insurer headquarters

By: Thomson Reuters

Published November 17, 2015 - 9:39am CST

(Reuters) — The future profitability of the pensions market will determine whether insurers keep their head offices in Britain rather than tougher new European Union capital rules, a top Bank of England official said Tuesday.

States prodded on health plan network adequacy rules

By: Bob Herman, Modern Healthcare

Published November 16, 2015 - 12:18pm CST

State health insurance officials and industry stakeholders are looking to standardize the network adequacy of health plans.

Benefits council head urges lawmakers to rethink PBGC premium hike

By: Shelby Livingston

Published November 16, 2015 - 12:07pm CST

In a letter, James A. Klein objects to higher assessments on employers included in recent budget legislation.

Pharmacy sues OptumRX over removal from its network

By: Thomson Reuters

Published November 13, 2015 - 2:48pm CST

Park Irmat Drug Corp., the latest specialty pharmacy to be dropped by a payer, is suing OptumRx over PBM network removal.

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