News for Insurers
Top stories summarized by our editors
9/20/2019

Mortality among infants and pregnant women has decreased significantly since 2000, but 2.8 million pregnant women and newborns still die each year, mostly from preventable causes, according to a report from UNICEF and the World Health Organization. United Nations Population Fund official Anneka Knutsson warns that sustainable development goals will not be reached "unless we dramatically increase and accelerate our efforts to improve maternal health care by bolstering overall sexual and reproductive health care."

9/20/2019

A study published in Diabetes Care showed that across all racial/ethnic groups, diabetes prevalence was 26.5% among Asians and 24.6% among Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders with overweight and obesity class I, while whites had a prevalence of 23.7% with obesity class II. Researchers evaluated data on 4,906,238 adults ages 20 and older and found the highest association between body mass index category and diabetes among whites, while blacks had the lowest association.

9/20/2019

Following several years of instability, Affordable Care Act markets are projected to expand next year as more health insurance providers enter or reenter the exchanges and increase their offerings, according to a report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The number of counties with just one ACA insurer is expected to decline by 13% next year, and the number could further drop depending on the extent of companies' expansions, the report noted.

9/20/2019

The CDC said the number of lung injury cases possibly tied to vaping has increased to 530 in 38 states and the US Virgin Islands, up from 380 last week, while the number of vaping-related deaths climbed to eight after a man in his mid-40s died in Missouri this week. The agency said 67% of the cases involved people between ages 18 and 34, and the FDA said it has not yet identified any substance or compound linked to the outbreak.

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Reuters, NBC News
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CDC, FDA, Vaping
9/20/2019

In an effort to increase preparedness against seasonal flu outbreaks and a possible flu pandemic, President Donald Trump signed an executive order directing HHS to develop a program supporting development of a universal flu vaccine and faster production of seasonal flu vaccines. HHS has 120 days to develop the plan, according to the executive order.

9/20/2019

A bill that would ban all e-cigarette flavoring other than tobacco, apply existing cigarette taxes to vaping devices and require the HHS to educate the public about the potential health effects of vaping has been introduced by Sens. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore. The measure is called the Ending New Nicotine Dependencies Act.

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CNBC
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Mitt Romney, Jeff Merkley, HHS, nicotine
9/20/2019

Bank of America's 2019 Workplace Benefits Report showed 53% of companies have financial wellness programs, compared with 24% in 2015. The survey showed 55% of employees said their financial wellness was good or excellent, compared with 61% in 2018, but women were less likely to say they were financially well than men.

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PlanSponsor
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Bank of America
9/20/2019

Healthy and active adults who reduced their daily physical activity from nearly 10,000 steps to 1,500 steps had a 4% decline in cardiorespiratory fitness levels; 0.5% and 0.2% higher total body fat and liver fat levels, respectively; about a third of an inch greater waist circumference; slightly elevated triglyceride levels; and increased insulin resistance after two weeks, according to a study presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes meeting. However, researchers found that participants' health measures returned to baseline levels two weeks after resuming usual activity.

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HealthDay News
9/20/2019

Students at Pine View Middle School in St. George, Utah, can now go to a "wellness room" monitored by a paraprofessional when they are stressed or upset. Officials say the goal is to help students learn healthy coping mechanisms so they can recenter themselves and return to class, and students who use the room heavily are referred to a counselor for more specific help.

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Utah
9/20/2019

The FDA has issued final guidance outlining how the agency will determine whether citizen petitions or other petitions calling for a stay of action have been submitted primarily to delay regulatory approval. The FDA has said such petitions are often used to delay competition rather than raise valid scientific concerns.

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Regulatory Focus