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HHS review finds improper payments by Medicare; US life sector grew profit in Q1

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HHS review finds improper payments by Medicare; US life sector grew profit in Q1

In the news

Medicare improperly paid nearly $729.4 million in electronic health record incentive payments to doctors and other health professionals who did not comply with federal requirements, according to a review done by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, among other things, did not adequately review the documentation of health professionals' self-attestations and incorrectly paid those who switched between incentive programs for Medicaid and Medicare, according to the report.

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Weak first-quarter annuity sales growth did not stop the U.S. life insurance industry from increasing pretax operating income nearly 103% year over year, according to an S&P Global Market Intelligence analysis.

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Sens. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.; Bill Cassidy, R-La.; and Kristen Gillibrand, D-N.Y., have introduced legislation to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program for 10 years. The NFIP is currently scheduled to expire Sept. 30.

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Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin is awaiting the CMS' approval of a Medicaid overhaul plan that consists of some new provisions for the program's recipients, The Wall Street Journal reported. Among other things, the proposal requires patients to pay monthly premiums of up to $15 and perform employment-related or community-service activities.

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The coupon price guidance on both tranches of Tokio Millennium Re's Spectrum Capital Ltd. (Series 2017-1) catastrophe bond has tightened, Artemis reported. Pricing on the class A notes has narrowed to 5.75% to 6% from the initial range of 6% to 6.75%. For the class B notes, the pricing has narrowed to 3.5% to 3.75% from the initial guidance of 3.25% to 4%.

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AmeriHealth Caritas affiliate AmeriHealth Caritas District of Columbia Inc. is set to continue its Medicaid managed care program for Washington, D.C. The contract will commence Oct. 1.

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India's Catholic Syrian Bank Ltd. is offering to sell a 51% stake to Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. at 160 rupees per share, excluding premium, The Economic Times reported. The proposed sale price would value the bank at close to 13 billion Indian rupees.

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With the Department of Labor's Conflict of Interest Rule going into effect, S&P Global Ratings is keeping close tabs on some life insurers' variable annuities hedging strategies and product design. During a two-day conference sponsored by S&P Global Ratings, insurance company executives said they were ready for the rule's implementation. The rule is widely expected to negatively affect variable annuity sales.

S&P Global Ratings and Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.

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An S&P Global Market Intelligence report notes different approaches taken by two insurers covering Teslas. While Auto Club Insurance Association Group is raising rates on Tesla drivers, insurtech startup Root Insurance Co. is providing a potential discount to them.

Featured news

GOP lawmakers hesitant to support ACA repeal; Biogen's MS drug under review: Some Republican lawmakers are hesitant to support a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act; and the European Medicines Agency is reviewing Biogen Inc.'s multiple sclerosis drug Zinbryta.

Financial news in other parts of the world

Asia-Pacific: Singapore, Americas partner on fintech; Deutsche Bank targets clients in Asia

Europe: Vicenza, Veneto rescue underway; Banco Popular faces claims; Deutsche eyes Asia

Middle East & Africa: Qatari banks' liquidity at risk after blacklist; Moody's cuts South Africa

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng closed 1.24% lower to 25,708.04, while the Nikkei 225 decreased 0.52% to 19,908.58.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was down by 0.14% to 7,516.47 and the Euronext 100 0.96% lower at 1,014.05.

On the macro front

The U.S. Treasury monthly budget is due out today.