Highmark Health CEO David Holmberg says the latest surge of COVID-19 is challenging its health system partners, and the company is prepared to meet the Biden administration's requirement that health insurers provide coverage for home COVID-19 tests. Holmberg said several issues could affect the health insurance industry this year, including the continued implementation of the Build Back Better legislative package, opportunities to enhance access to Medicaid, ongoing adoption of digital health technologies and the continued transition to value-based care.
Almost a third of respondents to a survey said they did not want to give up remote work and would quit their jobs rather than returning to an office environment. Forty-eight percent said they would retire earlier than planned if it weren't for their dependency on employer-sponsored health insurance.
United Airlines has resumed offering COVID-19 vaccination to employees at its major hubs to encourage booster shots in response to the recent surge in infections. "This is another step we are taking to educate our employees on the importance of boosters and make them easily accessible," said spokeswoman Leslie Scott.
An animal study published in the journal Cell Metabolism indicates that human metabolism could be affected differently depending on what time of day a person exercises. Results suggest that morning exercise may have a greater impact on fat loss, and exercise later in the day may be beneficial for blood sugar control.
School reopenings are likely to have been a major factor in a resurgence of respiratory syncytial virus cases since late 2020, research suggests. Study authors wrote in the Journal of Infectious Diseases that full reopening of schools in 18 countries was linked to 23 times greater risk of RSV infection, but partial reopening did not appear to carry the same risk.
US Census Bureau data show that people in more socioeconomically vulnerable demographics had higher rates of preventable emergency department visits from 2013 to 2017. Risk factors for preventable visits included education, income, insurance coverage, employment status, and access to transportation and the internet.
Health insurance providers said virtual-first plans have major potential to improve health care accessibility and affordability as they allow members to utilize both in-person visits and virtual care. Some health insurers such as Cigna rolled out virtual-first plans built on their existing telehealth platforms, while others partnered with established telehealth providers such as Teladoc to launch these options.
State lawmakers in Hawaii are proposing to boost the minimum wage significantly from $10.10 to $18 per hour, phased in over a period of several years. California currently has the highest minimum wage at $15 per hour.
Initial unemployment claims increased to a total of 286,000 for the week ending January 15, significantly above the Dow Jones projection of 225,000. The total figure is at its highest level since mid-October 2021.
The emergence of coronavirus variants has posed challenges for heath officials around the globe, but measures can be taken to lessen new variants' impact, according to John Nkengasong of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Virus monitoring and surveillance systems can be used to quickly identify new variants so officials have time to respond, Nkengasong says.
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