Wisconsin legislators approved a bill to enact a Medicaid work requirement that requires able-bodied beneficiaries below the age of 50 to work, volunteer or attend classes for 80 hours per month to maintain eligibility. Critics said the move is part of a Republican plan to stop the incoming governor, Democrat Tony Evers, from withdrawing the changes set in motion by outgoing Gov. Scott Walker.
People who received the flu vaccine in the past two seasons had a 40% lower risk of becoming infected, yet a survey from NORC at the University of Chicago showed 41% of US adults surveyed in mid-November said they had not received a flu shot and had no plans to get one. Many said they were worried about the vaccine's side effects, including infection with the virus, while others said they thought the vaccines don't work very well or that they were unlikely to be infected.
Companies like Honor, HomeTeam and CareLinx have created programs to support Medicare Advantage plans as they develop nonskilled home-care benefits for members. CareLinx's new Medicare At Home program connects clinical teams with caregivers, who help patients with daily activities and relay information related to treatment adherence, diet and other social determinants of health back to the larger health care team.
Offering strong medical and dental insurance plans is key to attracting top employees in a tight labor market, according to data from recruiting firm Jobvite. Other top benefits include a good retirement plan, telecommuting options, a relaxed dress code, continuing education support and a signing bonus.
The CMS granted Florida permission to cover 30 days' worth of existing medical bills, instead of 90 days' worth, for newly eligible Medicaid beneficiaries, effective Feb. 1 through June 30 unless state lawmakers extend the policy. The CMS also will allow Florida to offer a statewide Medicaid managed dental plan beginning this month and to make more funds from the Low Income Pool available to regional perinatal care centers.
Medicaid covers dental care for children in low-income households, but only half of eligible children receive care in a dental office, says Jane Koppelman of the Pew Charitable Trusts. In-school dental sealant programs have been shown to improve vulnerable children's oral health and potentially improve school performance while reducing spending, but some states' regulations stand in the way, Koppelman says.
HHS' proposal to peg Medicare Part B coverage of certain drugs to international benchmarks "doesn't just seek to end foreign free-riding, it introduces competition and negotiation to Medicare Part B drugs," HHS official John O'Brien wrote in a blog post.
The White House Office of Management and Budget is reviewing a final rule to block health care providers from participating in Medicare after permission to participate has been denied or revoked under a different name, identifier or business.
A nurse who works at an addiction treatment clinic and has a prescription for naloxone to administer to patients says she was denied life insurance by two carriers because of that prescription, something that worries public health advocates. "My biggest concern is that people will be discouraged by this from going to get a naloxone rescue kit at the pharmacy," said Dr. Alex Walley, medical director for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health's Opioid Overdose Prevention Pilot Program.