Trending News Today: Aetna-Humana Merger Could Limit Medicare Advantage Plan Choices

Top news of the day from across the healthcare landscape.

A recent study found that the directories provided for Blue Shield of California and Anthem Blue Cross are so inaccurate that only 30% of “secret shoppers” were able to schedule a new appointment. The plans were sold in health insurance exchanges, as well as to individuals. According to California Healthline, these physicians were either no longer covered, had a different specialty than what was listed, were not able to be reached, and other issues.

Aetna Inc recently met with Justice Department officials to discuss how its asset sales would prevent competition problems with the Aetna-Humana merger. Although Aetna did not disclose which assets they were prepared to sell, they did say that major players were interested in purchasing them, according to The New York Times. Antitrust regulators have expressed concern with the merger because it would limit the choices for Medicare Advantage plans.

Small-network plans have recently been scrutinized due to surprise medical bills patients face when they unintentionally receive care out-of-network. Approximately 2 dozen states have implemented or considered new legislation that would prevent these bills, The Wall Street Journal reported. This problem typically occurs when a patient receives care at an in-network hospital, but are treated by an out-of-network specialist.