Diane Lund-Muzikant

Regence Hikes Medicare Advantage Plans 31 percent

The Lund Report
Regence could lose its lead in Medicare Advantage members with its high cost premiums in 2010

October 15, 2009 -- Unlike its competitors, Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield is asking seniors to pay much higher premiums for their Medicare Advantage plans next year, according to filings submitted to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

High Risk Pool to Increase Premiums

The Lund Report
Insurer of last resort for those rejected for individual coverage plans to raise rates by 12.5 percent

October 14, 2009 -- People rejected by insurance companies because of pre-existing conditions will pay 12.5 percent more for health coverage through the high risk pool starting Jan. 1.

That decision was approved by a 7-1 vote of the Oregon Medical Insurance Board on Oct. 13. C.J. McLeod, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of ODS Health Plan, cast the only dissenting vote, preferring to raise rates by 15 percent similar to last year. “Otherwise we move backward,” he said.

Wyden Tells OMA Fight for Free Choice Continues

The Lund Report
Sen. Ron Wyden has become an outspoken critic of legislation so far since his amendment failed last week

October 5, 2009 -- Despite his failure to convince his colleagues to pass a free choice amendment to the $880 billion healthcare bill winding its way through Congress, Senator Ron Wyden refuses to give up the fight.

Free choice is “absolutely the key to healthcare reform,” he told physicians attending an Oregon Medical Association meeting last Saturday. Otherwise, “more than 200 million Americans working for large employers won’t have any choice of healthcare coverage.” 

Healthy Kids Plan Begins to Take Shape

The Lund Report
PacificSource vies for statewide coverage

October 1, 2009 -- Only one health insurer has stepped up to the plate to capture the statewide contract for the Healthy Kids program -- PacificSource Health Plans – while five other insurers are vying for regional contracts.

Former SAIF CEO to Head Retirement Community

October 1, 2009 -- Katherine Keene has been hired by Capitol Manor, a retirement community in Salem, as its executive director. Most recently she chaired Salem Hospital’s board of directors.  

In 2003, Keene resigned as president and CEO of SAIF Corp., after an 11-year stint.  Her resignation came after news reports revealed that Keene had spent more than $1.1 million on a lobbying contract with former Governor Neil Goldschmidt’s consulting firm from 1996 through 2003. Keene earned $295,000 in 2003.


Regence Reduces Employee Benefits, Pension

Portland BizJrnl
Faced with declining enrollment, Regence cuts back on benefits and pensions to its employees

September 24, 2009 -- Faced with declining revenues, Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon is trimming back its employee retirement fund. Starting Dec. 31, employees will no longer earn pension dollars, and the plan will be closed to new employees, according to a memo sent by Mark Stimpson, vice president of human resources, on Sept. 22. 

Congress' Look at Executive Pay Includes Regence

The Lund Report
Rep. Henry Waxman wants to know more about executive compensation paid to health insurers

September 17, 2009 -- Regence BlueCross BlueShield is among 52 health plans across the country targeted by Congressman Henry Waxman (D-California) who’s conducting an investigation into the private health insurance industry.

As chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Waxman’s asking the nation’s largest insurers to disclose their CEO salaries, bonuses, profit margins, corporate retreats and other financial data by the end of September.


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