Friday, October 01, 2010

Principal Out, UHC in... [UPDATED!]

[Scroll down for update]

From today's email (9/30/10):

"UnitedHealthcare has entered into an agreement to renew medical insurance coverage for The Principal®'s commercial medical plan customers."

The $64,000 Question, of course, is why? They've scheduled a conference call for tomorrow (Friday) afternoon, from which I hope to learn whether or not ObamaCare© played any role in this. While it's tempting to believe so, the nHealth kerfluffle demonstrated that it's not necessarily the case.

We'll keep you posted.

UPDATE [Oct 1]: Well that was interesting. Just got off a conference call with "teams" from Principal and UHC, and have several pages of notes. Here are some first impressions:

Principal's apparently been shedding medical business for a while; that line currently makes up something like 15% of its business. So this is not exactly "unexpected." As a result, they're transitioning their health business to UHC; this process is anticipated to be complete within the next 36 months.

Second, the Principal's team was adament that this decision was not driven primarily by ObamaCare©; if one accepts the prior point, this makes sense. They did acknowledge that, again due to their diminishing book of business, they are ill-equipped to handle the onslaught of ObamaCare©-driven changes.

Another key point is that as a result, all of their groups will (eventually) be "un-grandfathered." While both teams acknowledged this reality, they did try very hard to downplay its significance. Make of that what you will.

Finally, and consider this an IB "scoop," we were told that the Mayo Clinic will be in-network with UHC as of November 1.

I'll be happy to share more, just ask away in the comments.
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