Combating financial abuse among older adults starts with talking to aging family members about their finances to find out if they're in order, having necessary legal documents drawn up to provide protection, and considering the consolidation of multiple bank, credit card, and other financial accounts for simplification purposes.
Applying for Medicare at the appropriate time can help older adults avoid problems like late-enrollment penalties. Danielle Roberts of Boomer Benefits says adults shouldn't make the mistake of assuming they don't need Medicare and miss the enrollment window.
Maine Gov. Janet Mills signed into law a bill that will offer property tax relief to Maine residents age 65 and older who earn less than $40,000 annually. Eligible adults can have property taxes paid by the state, but the state will be able to get a lien on a participant's real estate if necessary, and the taxes paid will revert to the state when the person dies or sells the property.
Quantum computing technology promises to streamline clinical trials and optimize administrative tasks for health insurers and health care providers within the next few years, according to experts like Christopher Savoie, CEO of software developer Zapata Computing. Quantum computers run subatomic particles such as electrons or photons instead of bits and can process simulations involving multiple combinations of variables simultaneously.
Venture investors poured $1.2 billion into health-focused apps and video games in 2019, according to Pitchbook, but few digital therapeutics have gained insurance coverage and few physicians prescribe them. Analysts say digital therapeutics are ripe targets for mergers and acquisitions (M&As) by drugmakers and telehealth firms.
Walmart Health has taken steps to acquire telehealth platform MeMD and filed business applications in 37 states, though it has physical clinics only in three with plans for a fourth. A spokesperson said the company "expressed our interest in offering telehealth via an acquisition that is pending regulatory clearance, and these filings are related to that effort, not physical Walmart Health locations."
Centene unit WellCare of N.C., AmeriHealth Caritas, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of N.C. have joined North Carolina's statewide Medicaid coordinated-care network, NCCARE360. The network enables electronic referrals to social services organizations, real-time communications, secure data sharing, and the ability to track patient outcomes, and Medicaid members can search a database of more than 10,000 local services.
Cigna and Oscar Health will offer a virtual-first primary care plan next year in Georgia and Tennessee for small businesses. The plan offers unlimited virtual primary care visits with no co-pay and access to specialists and lab services as prescribed by a primary care provider.
A growing number of part-time, freelance, temporary and other workers in the gig economy have been enrolling in health plans through ACA exchanges, many are enrolling in upper-tier plans, and the premiums they're paying are lower than ever, according to online benefits platform Stride. "Clearly, there's strong demand for quality, affordable health insurance among gig economy workers," said Stride co-founder and CEO Noah Lang in a statement.
The Department of Veterans Affairs will not deploy new EHR systems at more sites for at least six months as leaders establish a new deployment schedule, VA Assistant Undersecretary for Health Carolyn Clancy said during a House subcommittee hearing. Deployment of the system at Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane, Wash., was probably premature, though problems were anticipated "because almost all private sector systems we spoke with told us that the initial deployment is always really challenging -- really, really challenging -- painful was the other word that was used," Clancy said.