News for Insurers
Top stories summarized by our editors
8/15/2018

The National Health Law Program filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration to stop the implementation of Medicaid work requirements in Arkansas, arguing the administration has no authority to impose such provisions without action from Congress.

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The Hill
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National Health Law, Congress
8/15/2018

Google's parent firm Alphabet plans to invest $375 million in Oscar Health, and the New York City-based health insurer said it intends to use the money to enter the Medicare Advantage market in 2020 and expand its presence in the individual and small-group markets. Oscar has focused on data science and technology to improve the consumer experience and contain costs, with more than 60% of interactions between the health care system and members occurring on a virtual basis.

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Oscar Health, Google
8/15/2018

CVS Health's pharmacy benefit manager unit, CVS Caremark, launched a new program that will let employers and insurers assess cost-effectiveness of therapies and exclude coverage of drugs with extremely high launch prices. The program, which aims to pressure drugmakers to reduce drug costs, will not target drugs with FDA breakthrough status.

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The Hill
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CVS Caremark, CVS Health, FDA
8/15/2018

Smoking and nonsmoking women who were exposed to secondhand smoke in childhood had increased odds of developing rheumatoid arthritis, compared with those who were not exposed to secondhand smoke as children, researchers reported in the journal Rheumatology. The findings were based on data involving 98,995 French women followed for up to 30 years.

8/15/2018

Heart failure patients who received prepackaged meals that followed Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet recommendations had a lower risk of hospital readmission within 30 days of discharge, according to a 66-patient study in the journal Circulation: Heart Failure. Both groups in the study were given information about following a sodium-restricted diet, but those who also received meals were limited to 1,500 milligrams of sodium a day.

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HealthDay News
8/15/2018

A Trump administration proposal that would count legal immigrants' use of public health programs such as Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program against them in applications for permanent residency could hurt public health efforts, according to health care leaders and advocacy groups. The proposed changes could increase uncompensated care costs, raise use of emergency departments, put maternal and infant health at risk, increase the risk of disease outbreaks, and shift expenses to state and local governments, they said.

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Medicaid
8/15/2018

A Wellable survey of 105 employee wellness professionals found 35% said employers would increase spending on wellness programs this year, and 15% said spending would decrease. Spending increases were associated with telemedicine, mental health and financial wellness, while spending decreases were seen in the areas of health fairs, fitness classes, health coaching and risk assessments.

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HR Dive
8/15/2018

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts gave out annual Governor's Wellness Awards to 38 employers in the state. Award-winning companies over the past year reported a 5% reduction in employee obesity, a 12% decrease in tobacco use and an increase in the number of people who met the US Surgeon General's guidelines for physical activity, said state Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman Judy Martin.

8/15/2018

A survey of 351 people found 63.5% knew a sedentary lifestyle increased heart disease risks and 65.8% knew it raised the likelihood of metabolic conditions. However, researchers wrote in the Journal of Health Communication that only 3.4% of respondents knew a sedentary lifestyle increased cancer risks, 3.4% were aware it increased respiratory disease risks and 0.9% knew it increased the likelihood of gastrointestinal conditions.

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HealthDay News
8/15/2018

Infants in strollers usually positioned 0.55 meters to 0.85 meters above ground level had an up to 60% increased exposure to air pollutants from vehicle exhaust pipes, which are commonly positioned at 1 meter above ground level, compared with their adult caregivers, according to a UK study in the journal Environment International. The findings should prompt the implementation of vehicle emission controls, placement of roadside hedges between pedestrians and vehicles, and tech solutions to create clean air zones around a baby's breathing area in strollers, researchers said.

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CTV (Canada)