News for Insurers
Top stories summarized by our editors
10/17/2018

CMS Administrator Seema Verma said the "Medicare for all" idea being pushed by some Democrats would decimate doctor networks and create a permanent physician shortage because the program doesn't cover full health care provider costs. "Under 'Medicare for all,' you either take private insurance away from those 170 million Americans, or greatly restrict access to it, meaning there is no relief valve for physicians facing up to 40% payment cuts," Verma told attendees at AHIP's Medicare conference in Washington.

10/17/2018

Pfizer's once-daily talazoparib was approved by the FDA as a treatment for patients who have advanced breast cancer associated with BRCA mutations.

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Reuters
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Pfizer, FDA, BRCA
10/17/2018

Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation Director Adam Boehler told private insurers that their Medicare Advantage business won't be adversely affected by a direct provider contracting model being considered by the CMS to cut traditional Medicare costs. Speaking at AHIP's Medicare conference in Washington, Boehler urged insurers to increase their use of value-based insurance design, which uses low copayments to incentivize high-value clinical care, and said he would consider promoting the model for prescription drug plans.

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Medicare, Adam Boehler, AHIP, Medicaid
10/17/2018

Researchers found that 46.1% of children with acute bronchiolitis in emergency departments underwent radiography between 2007 and 2015, without significant year-to-year changes, even though 2006 and 2014 American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines and 2013 Choosing Wisely recommendations advise against imaging for pediatric bronchiolitis diagnosis. The findings in the Journal of the American Medical Association "suggest that nationwide quality initiatives are still needed to translate bronchiolitis guidelines into practice," researchers concluded.

10/17/2018

CDC officials reported that 62 of 127 possible cases of acute flaccid myelitis in 22 states have been confirmed so far this year, which is a significant increase from last year, with more than 90% of confirmed cases involving youths ages 18 and younger. The CDC will release weekly updates on AFM cases, so "people can better anticipate increases in confirmed cases in the following months," said Dr. Nancy Messonnier of the CDC.

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CDC
10/17/2018

Arkansas officials said 4,109 Medicaid beneficiaries lost coverage this month after failing to comply with new rules that require them to work or be involved with other activities like training for 80 hours per month for three months in a calendar year. The total number of people dropped from the state's expanded Medicaid program is close to 8,500, and an additional 4,800 people are at risk of losing their benefits if they fail to meet the requirements by the end of this month.

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ABC News, The Hill
10/17/2018

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care is testing GlucoseZone, an app-based diabetes control program that uses exercise, technology and real-time monitoring, with employer clients in Connecticut. Regional vice president Jason Madrak said small employers face challenges in implementing wellness programs, but expanded digital capabilities make it easier to promote programs with a digital or social media component.

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Harvard Pilgrim Health Care
10/17/2018

A Food Research and Action Center report showed participation by low-income children in after-school supper programs in Kentucky increased by 16% from 2016 to 2017. Elizabeth Fiehler of the Kentucky Department of Education said after-school meals create a continuation of the meals students have during the school day.

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Public News Service
10/16/2018

Half of 726 parents surveyed reported that their children ages 2 to 5 were afraid of going to the doctor, with fear of immunization and stranger anxiety being the most common reasons, according to the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health. The findings also showed that child distress prompted 9% of parents to avoid asking questions or raising concerns during appointments, 4% to postpone vaccinations and 3% to cancel visits.

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HealthDay News
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C.S. Mott Children
10/16/2018

Orthopedics firm Zimmer Biomet, in collaboration with Apple, launched a multi-year study that will allow surgeons to use Apple Watches to monitor activities, including heart rate, steps taken and standing hours, of up to 100,000 patients who are due to undergo or are recovering from hip and knee replacement surgery in Massachusetts, California, Michigan and Colorado. Using the smartwatch, providers will be able to evaluate how well patients are following prescribed physiotherapy or regimes before and after surgery.

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Reuters
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Apple, Zimmer Biomet