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  • Health Care Companies Mulling What to Do with GOP Tax Bill Benefits  Modern Healthcare by Shelby Livingston — For-profit healthcare companies last week were buzzing about the savings they expect to reap from the Trump administration's sweeping tax overhaul, which reduced the corporate tax rate to 21 percent from 35 percent. Details were sparse on just how much they expect to save due to the lower tax rate — although the Express Scripts CEO said the pharmacy benefit manager would see a $850 million reduction in taxes thanks to the changes. The St. Louis-based PBM's 2016 net income totaled $3.4 billion. "We will not be sitting on that cash, I can promise you that," Express Scripts CEO Tim Wentworth said at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco last week. Other companies promised a deeper look at savings when they announce fourth-quarter 2017 financial results in the next month. Payers are already considering what to do with the extra funds, but it's unclear if customers will benefit from those savings in the form of lower insurance premiums.

  • Tax Break Helps UnitedHealth 4Q Earnings, 2018 Guidance Soar  Associated Press by Tom Murphy — UnitedHealth Group's earnings more than doubled in the final quarter of 2017, and the nation's largest insurer hiked its forecast well beyond expectations largely due to help from the federal tax overhaul. UnitedHealth said Tuesday that it added $1.2 billion in 2017 non-cash earnings, as its fourth-quarter and full-year corporate tax rates were cut. The $1.5 trillion tax cut plan that Republican lawmakers and President Donald Trump sped into law last month also has prompted other companies to raise forecasts for the new year and announce employee bonuses. UnitedHealth said it will dedicate most of the benefit it receives from the law to accelerating investments in data analytics and technology.

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