Paul R. La Monica / CNN Business: Microsoft and Amazon, the two most valuable companies in the world, are already competing for supremacy in cloud computing. Now Microsoft has its sights set on battling Amazon in the lucrative health care market as well. Microsoft (MSFT) announced a partnership with Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) Tuesday. As part of the deal, Microsoft will become Walgreen’s new cloud provider. The two said they will also work on solutions to lower health care costs. Walgreens will open up 12 “digital health corners” in stores that will sell health care-related gadgets. The two companies said the partnership will help Walgreens gain personalized data about their customers’ health, which will allow pharmacists to give better, customized nutrition and wellness solutions. The Microsoft-Walgreens joint venture appears to be a clear move by the two companies to try and counter Amazon’s (AMZN) growing clout in health care.
Reeve Conover recognized for helping consumers with qualified health coverage
Charleston SC – Reeve Conover has been recognized for his hard work and expertise in helping consumers enroll in and manage qualified health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
This nationwide recognition from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) as a member of the 2019 Marketplace Circle of Champions highlights Reeve Conover success in enrolling more than 40 consumers during this Open Enrollment Period.
“Consumers turn to agents and brokers for trusted advice and guidance in selecting plans, enrolling in coverage, and managing their health insurance policies throughout the year,” said Randy Pate, Director of Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) operation within CMS, which oversees the Marketplace. “We thank Reeve Conover for his hard work and exceptional service in helping Americans get coverage.”
The Marketplace Circle of Champions program recognizes the hard work, expertise and service of Marketplace-registered agents and brokers. Agents and brokers who assist 20 or more consumers qualify for the Marketplace Circle of Champions.
Eligible consumers can enroll in Marketplace coverage during this year’s Open Enrollment Period, which runs November 1 – December 15, 2018. Consumers with questions about their coverage or who would like help enrolling, can contact Reeve Conover at 843-800-8190.
NOTE- in the past an in-network surgery was generally considered in network for all providers. This is slowly changing.. and may have financial implications, as most Oxford members do NOT have out of network coverage:
We are implementing an assistant surgeon and co-surgeon services protocol with our New York participating (network) providers. Under the protocol, network providers are required to tell their Oxford patients if they are recommending, involving or referring a nonparticipating (out-of-network) assistant surgeon or co-surgeon in the member’s care. The protocol is consistent with New York law that includes protection for consumers from surprise medical bills.
What is changing?
A consent form has been created to confirm the members choice of provider when assistant or co-surgeon services are needed. Beginning Jan. 1, 2019, doctors and members will discuss the option of a non-participating assistant or co-surgeon and the financial consequences of using an out-of-network provider. Members will read and sign the consent form confirming their choice to use a network or out-of-network provider and their understanding of the financial impact.
Cigna dispute with Atlantic Health System in New Jersey
From CIGNA. Note that both companies continue to negotiate and that this is a normal and required notice during these negotiations::
I am writing to let you know about a potential change to the Cigna network of participating hospitals in New Jersey that may affect some of your employees.
We have been negotiating with Atlantic Health Systemfor a contract renewal but have not been able to reach an agreement at this time. If we are unable to reach an agreement, the effective termination date will be February 1, 2019. At this time, we are mailing required notices to impacted customers to share an update about this potential change.
To comply with New Jersey law, Cigna and Atlantic Health Systemmust continue to cover all services and abide by all terms of the contract for a four-month period (the “cooling off” period) following the termination of the contract. During this period, members with HMO/HMO POS Cigna products may continue to access inpatient and outpatient services at Atlantic Health Systemas in-network covered services subject to our usual authorization and referral processes. For members in these plans, the hospital will be out of network effective June 1, 2019.
The New Jerseystatutory “cooling off period” provisions described above do not apply to hospital services for members who are not covered HMO/HMO POS products. For members outside of these plans, the hospital will be out of network effective February 1, 2019.
Atlantic Health System has been a valued part of our health care professional network for many years and Cigna prefers that they remain in the network. We are committed to continuing discussions with them and are hopeful that we will come to a mutually acceptable agreement. We would welcome Atlantic facilities and physicians to remain part of our network, but only on fair terms that ensure local access to care at an affordable cost now and in the future. Atlantic Health is already generating a healthy profit margin on Cigna’s business, well in excess of their costs. According to our analysis, if we were to agree to what Atlantic Health System is requesting, our clients and customers would be charged more than what the competitive rate for Atlantic’s services are in the market. If you’d like to reach out to Atlantic Health Systems’ leadership to urge them to work with us to reach a fair deal, please reach out to Kevin Lenahan, SVP Chief Financial & Administration Officer at (973) 660-3565.
Cigna has a broad network in New Jersey and our customers will continue to have access to hospital services through the remaining Cigna network of hospitals in the area. A full listing of hospitals is available in our online directory located at www.cigna.com.
Reeve Conover is a Registered Representative. Securities offered through Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a Broker/dealer member FINRA/SPIC.
Cambridge and Conover Consulting are not affiliated.
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