News for Insurers
Top stories summarized by our editors
1/21/2019

A county-by-county analysis of industry spending on opioid marketing, prescribing rates and overdose deaths from 2013 to 2015 showed an association between spending per capita and opioid prescribing rates and overdose deaths after one year. The study, published in JAMA Network Open, showed drug firms spent $39.7 million on opioid marketing to 67,507 doctors in 2,208 US counties between August 2013 and December 2015, which translates to nearly $600 in spending per doctor.

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HealthDay News, Reuters
1/21/2019

CDC officials reported that US flu activity remains high, with the hospitalization rate reaching 12.4 per 100,000 people for the week ending Jan. 12. High influenza-like illness activity was reported in nine states while widespread flu activity was reported in 30 states.

1/21/2019

The CMS announced a new Medicare Part D payment model designed to lower drug prices, as well as what it called "transformative updates" to the Medicare Advantage Value-Based Insurance Design framework. The Part D Payment Modernization model will require participating plans to assume additional risk in the catastrophic phase, while the MA model changes will allow more customized benefits, enable coverage of hospice care and expand access to telehealth services.

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HealthLeaders Media
1/21/2019

Individuals with five to nine symptoms of vital exhaustion -- which signals psychological distress -- were 25% more likely to develop dementia, while those with 10 to 17 symptoms were 40% more likely to develop dementia, compared with those who didn't have any symptoms, according to a study reported in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. Every additional vital exhaustion symptom was associated with a 2% increase in dementia risk, the study found.

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Medical News Today
1/21/2019

A study in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism showed that adults with type 1 diabetes and an HbA1C of at least 8% had a higher risk for low-trauma fracture over four years after diabetes diagnosis than those with HbA1C levels below 7%, but the association between HbA1C and fracture risk was not evident among those with type 2 diabetes. The study of 47,604 patients with diabetes found that regardless of glycemic control, those with type 2 diabetes who received pioglitazone or rosiglitazone were more likely to experience a low-trauma fracture than nonusers.

1/21/2019

An analysis found that the number of new drug shortages in the US increased by 27% last year, rising to 186 from 146 in 2017. Injectable medicines administered in hospitals accounted for more than half of new drug shortages.

1/21/2019

The FDA has developed and validated two Drug Facts labels as part of an effort to encourage pharmaceutical firms to develop over-the-counter naloxone to increase access to the opioid overdose reversal drug. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said comprehension testing showed that the model labeling was "well-understood by consumers and is acceptable for use by manufacturers in support of their OTC naloxone development programs."

1/21/2019

Ontruzant, a biosimilar version of Roche Holding's Herceptin, has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of patients with breast cancer. The drug was developed by Samsung Bioepis and will be marketed by Merck Sharp & Dohme.

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Reuters
1/21/2019

The Trump administration has approved Arizona's request to require Medicaid beneficiaries ages 19 to 49 who are not members of federally recognized tribes, pregnant, medically frail or being treated for substance abuse disorder to participate in "qualifying community engagement activities" for at least 80 hours per month to maintain eligibility starting next year. The state's request to impose a five-year maximum lifetime limit for recipients who don't comply with the requirements was denied by the administration.

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The Hill
1/21/2019

Employers are working with fintech providers to offer tools that help their employees improve their financial wellness, writes Jennifer Tescher, CEO of the nonprofit Center for Financial Services Innovation. Transportation company Pitt Ohio found a large number of its employees did not have emergency savings, so it offered benefits such as access to financial counseling and an emergency savings account.

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Forbes