News for Insurers
Top stories summarized by our editors
11/12/2018

Updated heart health guidelines from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology emphasize lifestyle interventions to manage cholesterol, but they recommend newer cholesterol medications for certain high-risk patients whose cholesterol levels are not controlled by statins. PCSK9 inhibitors are recommended for some higher-risk patients for whom statins plus ezetimibe are ineffective; and cholesterol screening is advised among children as young as 2 years old who have a family history of high cholesterol or heart disease.

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Reuters
11/12/2018

Some Medicare Advantage plans will offer a variety of added benefits starting next year, such as transportation to pharmacies, gyms and medical appointments; home-delivered meals; or safety modifications for the home such as wheelchair ramps. Medicare officials estimate 273 plans in 21 states will offer at least one of the services under expanded coverage flexibility, giving 7% of MA members access to the new benefits.

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Kaiser Health News
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Medicare
11/12/2018

Healthy individuals older than 50 without a history of cancer or cardiovascular disease who took vitamin D supplements daily had a similar risk of developing cancer and major CV events but had 25% reduced odds of cancer mortality, compared with those who received placebo, researchers reported at the American Heart Association's annual meeting and in The New England Journal of Medicine. Another study by the same researchers showed a similar risk of CV events but a 28% lower likelihood of heart attacks among those who took fish oil supplements.

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CNN, TIME online
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American Heart Association
11/12/2018

Almost 500,000 uninsured people in five states are expected to gain access to Medicaid coverage following the midterm elections, advocates say. Three states voted to expand Medicaid eligibility, while two others elected governors who have promised to support state legislation expanding their programs.

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Kaiser Health News
11/12/2018

The Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission sent a letter to HHS urging the department to temporarily stop Arkansas from revoking access to its Medicaid program after almost 8,500 recipients were dropped in recent months for failing to report compliance with the program's work requirements. MACPAC's Penny Thompson said poor internet access could be hindering communication about the rule or preventing beneficiaries from reporting, noting that "low level of reporting is a strong warning signal that the current process may not be structured in a way that provides individuals an opportunity to succeed, with high stakes for beneficiaries who fail."

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MACPAC, HHS, Access Commission
11/12/2018

The on-site clinic at Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems' Huntington, Ind., plant averages about 183 patient visits each month and is part of a wellness program that includes walking tracks, an on-site fitness center, and nutrition and smoking-cessation classes. The company recently began offering employees an app that has challenges and personal health assessments.

11/12/2018

A Save the Children and Johns Hopkins University analysis predicted that more than 10.8 million children younger than 5 worldwide will die from pneumonia by 2030, with the most deaths expected in Nigeria and India. However, researchers found that improvements in vaccination coverage, childhood nutrition and treatments could curb 4.1 million pediatric deaths.

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Johns Hopkins University
11/12/2018

A study published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report revealed that arthritis was prevalent in about 1 in 3 US adults with prediabetes. CDC researchers analyzed data from the 2009 to 2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys and found that adults with prediabetes had an unadjusted arthritis prevalence rate of 32.0%, and those who had both arthritis and prediabetes had unadjusted prevalence rates of obesity of 50.1% and leisure-time physical inactivity of 56.5%.

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Arthritis, CDC
11/12/2018

Curtailing pharmacy benefit managers' ability to wrest price concessions from drugmakers would lead to increases in Medicare Part D premiums and spending, according to the latest Medicare Trustees report. Rebates are "a legitimate tool used to extract significant price concessions from drug manufacturers off the list price of a brand-name drug," writes Thomas Barker, who helped HHS develop the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit.

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Morning Consult
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Medicare, Thomas Barker, HHS
11/12/2018

Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., says he and fellow Democrats Elijah Cummings of Maryland and Lloyd Doggett of Texas are likely to revive the topic of allowing Medicare officials to negotiate directly with drugmakers.