Bertha Coombs, NBR, CNBC.com’s Posts

Bertha Coombs reports from Boston on how Humana’s new digital hub feels like a tech start-up as the Medicare giant makes a big push into digital health.

The total cost of worker health benefits is expected to increase 5% in 2020, topping $15,000 per employee, according to the National Business Group on Health annual survey of nearly 150 of the nation’s largest employers.

The presidential hopefuls aren’t the only ones eyeing health-care issues for 2020. Large employers are putting together benefit plans for next year, and they are expecting the rise in employee health costs to hit a four-year high, in part, due to rising drug prices.

Two new deals to the start the year and positive trial presentations at the J.P. Morgan Health Care conference, have breathed new life into some of last year’s biggest stock losers.

The average deductible for a worker in an employer health plan this year is $1,573, up 4.5 percent from $1,505 in 2017, according to new data from the 2018 Kaiser Family Foundation employer health benefits survey.

While nearly two-thirds of large employers still contract with a dedicated pharmacy benefit management firm to handle their drug costs, they’ve lost faith with the PBM rebate model, a new survey finds.

Trump’s American Patients First would lower list prices for prescription drugs and limit regulations.

UnitedHealth has struck a $4.9 billion deal to acquire the DaVita Medical unit of kidney dialysis firm DaVita in an all-cash transaction.

Nurses and home-care aides at Libertana Home Health Care have been experimenting by using Alexa with some elderly clients.

Anthem said it plans to file preliminary 2018 rates with the assumption that the cost-sharing reductions will be funded.

Humana is the only insurer offering exchange plans this year in Knoxville but is dropping out of the Obamacare market in 2018.

While the White House and Congress struggled to repeal Obamacare, investors did not shy away from health-care stocks in the first quarter.

Anthem will appeal a federal court ruling rejecting its $54 billion merger with Cigna and asked for an expedited hearing to make its case.

The Republicans need to enact a replacement plan by the end of this year to ensure a clear transition, S&P’s Deep Banerjee says.