Editors’ Corner: Top 10 Fierce Health Paying Stories in 2021

UnitedHealth Group announced plans to acquire data analytics firm Change Healthcare in March and since then the nearly $ 8 billion deal has made headlines across the insurance and tech sectors of industry.

The country’s largest insurer was among our 10 most-read articles in 2021, representing four headlines and a host of others that were just below our list. Other UnitedHealth headlines that resonated with you this year include CEO Andrew Witty’s plans to more effectively unite his health plan with Optum as well as the company’s new chief medical officer.

Another key subject for 2021? Medicare Advantage, both in terms of the market itself and with respect to some of its larger players. Humana, an MA device, is in two of our top headlines for the year, as is the last one on MA bonuses ahead of plan year 2022.

RELATED: Forecast 2022: Medicare Advantage Is The Hottest Market In The Industry. Don’t expect that to change next year

Here is the list of the 10 most read stories this year:

1. UnitedHealthcare Removes Envision from its Provider Network

The ongoing feud between UnitedHealth and physician recruiting firms was a recurring theme for the year, with news in January that the insurer would be removing Envision from its network topping our most read list. UHC is also involved in a heated legal exchange with TeamHealth.

2. Rumor has it that Humana is considering Centene takeover again: report

The stock market was once again on Twitter about rumors that Humana could acquire government insurance giant Centene. Similar rumors circulated two years ago, which were summarily closed. As of yet, none of these rumors have come out, but we’ll be watching this closely.

3. Centene launches organizational restructuring effort, will cut 3K employees, 1.5K open jobs

Following the closing of the acquisition of rival WellCare Health Plans, Centene embarked on a quest to re-examine its lines of business and focus on the areas that offer the most value. In this context, the insurer announced that it would restructure its organization and cut thousands of positions and open jobs.

4. 4 Biggest Healthcare Trends CVS Health Says To Watch Out For In 2021

Since its acquisition of Aetna was finalized in 2018, CVS Health’s reach has extended to many segments of the healthcare industry. Experts at the health giant have outlined several key trends to watch out for, including a looming mental health crisis and the growing role of pharmacists.

5. Why UnitedHealth sees the combined powers of its health plan, Optum as a competitive advantage

Andrew Witty was appointed CEO of UnitedHealth Group in February and, after taking office, has repeatedly underscored his ambitions this year to unite the strengths of his UnitedHealthcare and Optum businesses more effectively. Optum, in particular, has untapped potential, he said.

6. UnitedHealth Group selects Wilson as new Chief Medical Officer

In other UnitedHealth news, the company announced late last month that Margaret-Mary Wilson, MD, would take on the role of Chief Medical Officer with a particular focus on addressing inequalities in health. His predecessor, Robert Migliori, MD, will be retiring.

7. Aetna Launches Nationwide Virtual Primary Care Solution

Over the summer, Aetna partnered with Teladoc to launch a nationwide virtual primary care option. Virtual primary care and virtual health first plans are shaping up to be a key trend to watch over the coming year as more payers consider such benefit designs.

8. Medicare Advantage premiums will decrease slightly in 2022, Part D will increase by almost 5%

Medicare Advantage is currently the fastest growing market in the insurance industry, and news from this segment is always in demand. In September, the Biden administration said MA premiums were to drop for plan year 2022, while Part D premiums would increase.

9. Humana to Pilot New Technology-Based Chronic Care Management Platform

Humana has launched a pilot project for a new technology platform for chronic care management. Humana Care Support will leverage enhanced data analytics to create an integrated and personalized experience for members, the company exclusively told Fierce Healthcare.

10. UnitedHealth and Change Healthcare Reach Timeline Agreement with DOJ on Mega Merger

There have been many updates regarding the UnitedHealth-Change merger this year, as the Department of Justice (DOJ) investigated the deal on antitrust grounds. The two companies have agreed that they will not complete the deal until the DOJ completes its investigation.

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