Health Care Insurers Turn To Brick-and-mortar Option To Lure Customers

Health Management Seen Succumbing to Lone Bid: Real M&A

And that is leading insurance companies to re-think how they do business with millions of Americans. Soon everybody will be required to have health insurance, and many Americans will have to buy it for themselves. That’s why insurance providers are rolling out retail stores to sell their product, allowing people to comparison-shop the same way they do for things like cars and appliances. Recently, Phyllis Simon was out shopping for health insurance, looking for better coverage for less money. She visited the Blue Cross Blue Shield Horizon Connect store in southern New Jersey, which opened last year. Tom Vincz, an employee at the store, said, “Having a health insurance retail center where you can come in and have questions answered about purchasing a policy and understanding the benefits will be a good thing.” It’s a brick-and-mortar strategy that major insurers are turning to, as millions of Americans get set to add health insurance to their shopping lists. President Obama’s health care overhaul requires people sign up by the end of March, or face a penalty. Jayne O’Donnell has been covering the Affordable Care Act for USA Today. She calls this the “retailization of health insurance.” O’Donnell told CBS News, “It’s up to the insurers to really compete and increase their marketing and lure as many of them as they can.” In the past, the industry’s main customers have been employers. Now insurers have to sell to individuals as well. On July 18, President Obama said, “New online marketplaces will allow consumers to go online and compare private health care insurance plans just like you’d compare over the Internet the best deal on flat-screen TVs.” But some consumer advocates say the retail stores could keep customers from getting their best deal.

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Health News updates

16, after Health Management had already agreed to the deal with Community Health, all eight of the hedge funds independent board nominees were elected. Wild Card One reason investors voted in the new board was to see if there was any perspective they could come up with that might be able to drive a better deal with Community Health, Thomas Gallucci, a New York-based analyst at Lazard Capital Markets LLC, said in a phone interview. Theres a big wild card here: Is the new board going to come up with anything? The deal would exchange each Health Management share for $10.50 in cash and 0.06942 of a Community Health share. Investors may receive an additional payment of as much as $1 a share, based on the outcome of certain legal matters. In July, Health Management said it had received subpoenas regarding certain emergency room operations that supplement ones from 2011, as well as a subpoena regarding physician relationships. CBS Corp. (CBS) s 60 Minutes TV show also has aired a segment claiming Health Management pressured its doctors to keep hospital beds filled to boost revenue and profits. The cash-and-stock portion of Community Healths offer, including net debt, valued Health Management at 9.8 times its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization in the prior 12 months, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That tops the median multiple of 8.6 for U.S. hospital deals larger than $1 billion, the data show. Distressed Seller The offer equated to $13.78 a share the day it was announced, a 7.6 percent discount to Health Managements stock price the previous day. As Community Health shares have fallen, the value of its offer dropped to $13.18 a share as of yesterday. Health Management closed yesterday at $12.77. Today, shares of Health Management rose 0.2 percent to $12.79. Community Health climbed 4.6 percent to $40.32, the most since July 29. Its difficult to assess whether the bid was fair or represents a price offered by an opportunistic acquirer to a distressed seller, according to a July 30 statement from Glenview.

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