Trending News Today: Health Insurers Explore Increased Pressure to Lower Costs

Top news of the day from across the healthcare landscape.

As the cost of healthcare rises, health insurance companies are starting to explore the benefits of becoming a company similar to Walmart who uses market dominance to put pressure on companies to lower prices. Hospital mergers have been largely scrutinized for this since it would potentially decrease competition, and they could increase costs. However, a larger company, such as Anthem if they merged with Cigna, could negotiate better reimbursement rates, according to Kaiser Health News.

Rather than buy health insurance policies, an increasing number of companies are self-insuring, paying employee claims directly. The number of midsized self-insured companies increased from 19% to 30.1% between 2013 and 2015, Kaiser Health News reported. Larger companies are starting to stop self-funding, but 80.4% of them still do.

The US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently stated that despite criticism, the Affordable Care Act has added healthier and lower-risk customers. The cost per enrollee was also found to have not changed between 2014 and 2015 in this market, but the costs rose for private insurers and Medicare insurers, according to Kaiser Health News. However, skeptics of the law still say that the stability of the law is uncertain.