News for Insurers
Top stories summarized by our editors
2/16/2018

Many companies offer creative perks to keep employees happy, such as a monthly wellness allowance at Dropbox, Ikea's policy of getting a day off for a child's first day at school, a pledge from Patagonia to bail out employees arrested during a peaceful protest and new-puppy leave at BrewDog. Glassdoor has found these perks may not be high on an employee's list of top benefits, but they do attract attention, which may boost recruitment.

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IKEA, Glassdoor
2/16/2018

Rural US counties had the highest infant mortality rate between 2013 and 2015, with the highest prevalence of infant deaths due to congenital malformations, sudden infant death syndrome and unintentional injuries but the lowest rate of infant deaths due to low birth weight and maternal complications, compared with small and medium urban counties and large urban counties, according to a report in the CDC's NCHS Data Brief. The findings also showed the highest rates of post-neonatal deaths due to congenital malformations, homicide, SIDS and unintentional injuries in rural counties.

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CDC
2/16/2018

The University of Southern Mississippi is addressing a student hunger problem by allowing students who use its food pantry to eat in the dining hall. Students on meal plans can donate two meals per year to students in need and the dining hall will match each donation.

2/16/2018

A study from the National Bureau of Economic Research explores the link between the interest-rate environment and people's attitudes toward saving, investing and retirement. Among their key findings, the authors state people generally save less in a persistently low-rate environment, and workers claim Social Security later but draw down their 401(k) accounts sooner.

2/16/2018

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said a national e-prescribing system is needed for controlled substances. Legislation -- the Every Prescription Conveyed Securely Act -- introduced by Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Mass., could help reduce prescription drug abuse and improve efforts to reduce the risk of certain prescription drugs, Gottlieb said.

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Regulatory Focus
2/16/2018

HHS Secretary Alex Azar said that drugs currently covered by Medicare Part B could benefit from the negotiations carried out in Medicare Part D, adding that other proposed policies would give pharmacy benefit managers more leverage to "fight against the branded drug companies to keep those list prices down."

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HHS, Medicare, Alex Azar
2/16/2018

Critics of drugmakers' copayment coupons say the coupons artificially drive demand for expensive brand-name drugs and sustain high prices, which insurers must pay. Medicare and Medicaid ban the use of copay coupons entirely, California recently banned coupons for branded drugs with a generic alternative, and Massachusetts and New Jersey are considering similar restrictions.

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Health Affairs
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Medicare, Medicaid
2/16/2018

Guy Sheneman, a pharmacist from Weleetka, Okla., received a two-year prison term plus three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay a fine of $100,000 after being convicted of health care fraud. Sheneman overbilled Medicare and Medicaid from January 2012 to October 2014 by submitting fraudulent claims for more expensive drugs than those actually dispensed to patients, prosecutors said.

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Tulsa World (Okla.)
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Medicaid, Medicare, fraud
2/16/2018

Arkady Goldin, owner of Value Pharmacy in Lynbrook, N.Y., is facing health care fraud, grand larceny and other charges on allegations that he paid thousands of dollars in illegal kickbacks to a former hospital worker in exchange for referring expensive cancer medications, which allowed the pharmacy to submit at least $1.9 million worth of fraudulent claims to Medicaid. An asset forfeiture and civil recovery action seeking more than $8.7 million in penalties and damages also was filed against Goldin and the pharmacy by the Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, which claims the owners of the pharmacy made millions through the scheme.

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Patch
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Value Pharmacy, Arkady Goldin
2/16/2018

Felicia Ricks and Michael Robinson, both residents of Caruthersville, Mo., were charged with Medicaid fraud and conspiracy to commit Medicaid fraud, respectively, on allegations of working together to defraud the program. Authorities say Ricks lied about providing in-home personal care services to Robinson while the latter was in jail, resulting in over $6,000 worth of improper payments from Medicaid.

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Felicia Ricks, Michael Robinson