Two months after Harris Methodist Health Plan agreed to be acquired by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, the deal collapsed. Talks to close the $100 million sale dragged on so long, Harris decided to look for another suitor.
Also in Texas, Aetna will dump its NYLCare units in Dallas and Houston, neutralizing regulators' antitrust concerns and thus allowing Aetna to close on its purchase of Prudential's health care lines.
Retreating to its historic group-model status, Kaiser Permanente will shed all of its Northeast U.S. and North Carolina operations which use outside physicians while its Group Health affiliate will end service in 14 rural Washington and Idaho counties. All have lost money or are only marginally profitable. Kaiser, meanwhile, will raise rates 7 to 8 percent next year.