News for Insurers
Top stories summarized by our editors
1/24/2020

The World Health Organization said Thursday that it's too early to designate the emerging coronavirus spreading in Wuhan, China, as a public health emergency of international concern due to the small number of cases outside the country and the Chinese government's efforts to stop the virus from spreading. "Make no mistake. This is an emergency in China, but it has not yet become a global health emergency," said WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

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CNN, The Hill
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World Health Organization
1/24/2020

The CMS said it plans to combine and standardize the eight existing Compare sites into a single tool called "Medicare Care Compare" this spring. In a blog post, CMS Administrator Seema Verma said the move will permit "users to access the same information through a single point of entry and simplified navigation to find the information that is currently divided in places like Nursing Home Compare and Hospital Compare."

1/24/2020

The FDA granted conditional approval to Epizyme's Tazverik, or tazemetostat, to treat patients with inoperable metastatic or locally advanced epithelioid sarcoma, a rare soft tissue cancer, and Epizyme announced the drug will be priced at $15,500 per month. Data from a midstage trial showed the drug shrank tumors in some patients.

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soft tissue sarcoma
1/24/2020

Employers are finding creative ways to help employees tackle their 2020 wellness goals, such as offering a "jump-start" program with short-term goals that help people achieve bigger goals later on. One financial services company CEO raised awareness about a charity run by jogging in stiletto heels, while HR staff at a chemical manufacturing company used "gate crashing" to pass out informational flyers, fruit and other wellness incentives as workers entered the building.

1/24/2020

First-time mothers who received low-dose aspirin daily during pregnancy had 11% lower odds of preterm delivery compared with those who were given placebo, researchers reported in the journal The Lancet. The findings also showed a reduced likelihood of perinatal mortality among those in the aspirin group, but both groups had similar at-term hypertensive disorder risk.

1/24/2020

Adults aged 45 to 75 with diabetes experienced a 58.9% all-cause mortality decline for men and 63.6% for women from 2001 to 2016, while younger adults saw an all-cause mortality decline of 33.8% for men and 6.9% for women during the same period, according to a study in Diabetologia. Researchers analyzed data from 770,078 men and women from Hong Kong, and also found that the mortality rates for all-cause, cardiovascular disease and cancer among men declined by 52.3%, 72.2% and 65.1%, respectively, and by 53.5%, 78.5% and 59.6% among women, respectively.

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Drug Topics
1/24/2020

Students at one Utah elementary school will soon start learning about mental health, coping strategies and asking for help through the Reach Out Initiative. The project is being spearheaded by high school students who want their younger peers to know how to deal with depression and anxiety as they grow up, and is part of a larger effort by the state to prevent teen suicides.

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Utah elementary school
1/24/2020

Insulin could be the first target for a new subsidiary of generic drug nonprofit Civica Rx, backed by Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association plans, writes Bruce Japsen.

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Forbes
1/24/2020

A bill under consideration by New Hampshire's Senate Commerce Committee would allow the state to import prescription drugs from Canada. However, prices would not fall quickly if the bill is passed, and some patient advocacy organizations in Canada say that nation is already facing drug shortages.

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The Associated Press
1/24/2020

Centene and WellCare Health Plans said they completed their $17.3 billion merger Thursday, a day after announcing that the deal had cleared all regulatory hurdles. The combined entity is the largest health insurance provider by membership, with 23.4 million beneficiaries.

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HealthLeaders Media, Axios
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WellCare