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Trump executive order expected today; Medica suit over Minn. contracts dismissed


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Trump executive order expected today; Medica suit over Minn. contracts dismissed

President Donald Trump could sign an executive order today directing federal agencies to take actions aimed at offering lower-cost insurance options in the individual insurance markets, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing an interview with two senior White House officials. Among other things, the order will allow small businesses and possibly individuals to team up to form association health plans, and ease restrictions on the sale of short-term insurance plans.

Legal updates: Medica's lawsuit against the Minnesota Department of Human Services over public insurance programs contracts has been rejected by a Ramsey County judge, the (Minnesota) Star Tribune reported. Judge Robyn Millenacker dismissed Medica's argument that the state offered higher payment rates to other providers in public health insurance programs.

Kemper Corp. subsidiary Kemper Corporate Services Inc. received a favorable ruling in a confidential arbitration proceeding against a software vendor.

The Kentucky Department of Insurance has approved a workers' compensation loss cost decrease of 4.6% on average for the 592 industrial classes used in the state, Business Insurance reported. The filing, submitted by the National Council on Compensation Insurance Inc., is effective Oct. 1, the department said.

In deal news, Bar Harbor Bankshares agreed to sell its insurance subsidiary McCrillis & Eldredge Insurance to Bangor, Maine-based Cross Insurance.

More insurers disclosed projected losses from recent catastrophes. Markel Corp. expects to report third-quarter pretax underwriting losses of $503 million, net of reinstatement premiums, from hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and the earthquakes in Mexico.

XL Group Ltd provided preliminary estimates of net losses from hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria of $1.33 billion.

In people news, Mark Traynor has been named president and CEO of UCare. Traynor had been serving as the Minneapolis-based health insurer's interim president and CEO since April.

Just days after being sworn in as the deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Eric Hargan has been catapulted to the agency's top spot, at least in an acting capacity. Hargan replaced Don Wright, who had temporarily filled the HHS secretary's job after Tom Price resigned Sept. 29 under a cloud of scandal over his taxpayer-paid flights on chartered and government jets, which may have cost Americans up to $1 million over his seven months in the position.

Featured news

Trump executive order on healthcare imminent; Ebola vaccines show promise: President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order to take action on healthcare; and vaccines from Merck & Co. and GlaxoSmithKline showed promise against Ebola in placebo-controlled studies.

Financial news in other parts of the world

Asia-Pacific: China bans 5 insurers from funding parents; AMP Capital to revamp equities biz

Europe: EC clears Novo Banco sale; BAWAG IPO price range set; France probes Danske Bank

Middle East & Africa: QNB, Dubai Islamic Bank Q3 profits up; Saudi insurers face tougher rules

The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a lower opening for the U.S. market.

In Asia, the Hang Seng rose 0.24% to 28,459.03, and the Nikkei 225 was up 0.35% to 20,954.72.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 rose 0.16% to 7,546.21, while the Euronext 100 was down 0.23% to 1,044.44.

On the macro front

The jobless claims report, the PPI-FD report, the EIA natural gas report, the EIA petroleum status report, the Treasury budget report, the Fed balance sheet and the money supply report are due out today.