Slack pursued an unusual direct listing, meaning it did not have banks underwrite the offering.CNBC Disruptor 50read more
President Trump says Iran may not have intentionally downed an unmanned U.S. surveillance drone.Politicsread more
Slack's CEO said that the company didn't want to go public via an IPO so that it could be as transparent and accessible as possible.Deals and IPOsread more
Oil jumped as much as 6% on Thursday after Iran shot down a U.S. military drone, prompting President Trump to blast Tehran on Twitter.Energy Commoditiesread more
If Facebook cut corners in something as basic as the branding of its nascent crypto efforts, this dispute could give ammunition to its many critics.Financeread more
CNBC analysis using Kensho found that Disney, Verizon and Home Depot were some of the best performing Dow stocks in declining-rate environments.Investingread more
For doubters thinking the rally is just a last gasp of the decade-long bull market, chart analysts are here to prove them wrong.Marketsread more
Notorious "pharma bro" Martin Shkreli has reached a settlement with his former biopharmaceutical company Retrophin just weeks ago after he sued two company directors and its...Biotech and Pharmaceuticalsread more
"The slowdown in the global economy is reaching this shore," veteran trader Art Cashin says.Economyread more
Slack's public market debut on Thursday will generate billions for venture firm Accel and healthy returns for Andreessen Horowitz and Social CapitalTechnologyread more
JetBlue is ordering the longest-range Airbus jets to expand service to more European cities.Airlinesread more
The insurance industry will be watching Washington after the market close Monday, when the Obama administration is expected to announce final Medicare Advantage rate cuts for 2015.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid proposed a base rate cut of 1.9 percent for the private Medicare Insurance plans in February. The agency has since has come under intense pressure from senior citizen groups, members of Congress and the industry's lobbying arm America's Health Insurance Plans to leave rates unchanged.
"We are focused on the impact the proposed cuts to Medicare Advantage would have on the more than 15 million seniors enrolled in the program," said Robert Zirkelbach, AHIP's spokesman. "Year-over-year cuts to Medicare Advantage put at risk the coverage seniors like and rely on today," he said.
For Humana, the rates are critical. The program represented two-thirds of the firm's revenue in 2013. In February, Humana officials calculated that the proposed rate would result in a net reimbursement reduction of 3.5 percent to 4 percent when other rate adjustments are added in, well below its prior internal estimates.
Humana shares turned positive for the year in February, surging to new highs, following CMS' initial rate proposal. For investors, the question is whether the stock has already priced in the good news.
Analysts now expect CMS' final rate decision could be slightly less negative than the proposed cut—a net reduction of 3 percent to 5 percent—which is already less severe than last year's reduction, which saw a net reimbursement cut of more than 6 percent.
"Whether rates fall 3 percent or 4 percent doesn't have a real material impact on profitability in 2015," Citi Research analyst Carl McDonald said in a note to clients. "All the bigger rate cut means is that plans have to adjust benefits or provider networks a little more than otherwise would have been the case."
In most cases, insurers raised premiums in 2014 to compensate for the CMS cuts. Medicare Advantage enrollees saw an average premium increase of 14 percent, or about $5 per month, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study.
Despite predictions from the industry that seniors would lose access to the private plans due to the cuts, industry analysts calculate that overall enrollment in Medicare Advantage this year grew nearly 9 percent from 2013.
Leerink analyst Ana Gupte said she expects much of the news on rate expectations may already be priced in for shares of the Medicare Advantage players. While negative reversal from CMS would pressure the sector, she calculated the odds that final rates would be worse than initially proposed at 9 to 1.
"We see the bear case of no change to the Advance rate notice … at 10 percent probability and expect stocks would sell off on that scenario," she said.
But this won't be the last year that insurers will have to contend with tense rate decisions. Under the Affordable Care Act, the program was supposed to see $200 billion in cuts over 10 years starting in 2011, in order to help fund subsidies for Obamacare exchange plans.
The cuts represent a rollback of the higher reimbursement rate the private plans have enjoyed—at one point 14 percent—over traditional Medicare plans, in which the government pays providers directly. Eventually, the law envisions the two programs reimbursed at the same rate.
—By CNBC's Bertha Coombs.