News for Insurers
Top stories summarized by our editors
2/21/2018

All-cause mortality risk for older men dropped 17% for each additional 30 minutes of light exercise, such as walking or gardening, performed each day, researchers reported in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Sporadic exercise reduced mortality risk by 41%, while exercising 10 minutes or more lowered the risk by 42%.

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Medical News Today
2/21/2018

Overweight or obese adults assigned to a healthy low-carbohydrate diet lost an average of 6.0 kg at one year, compared with 5.3 kg lost by those on a healthy low-fat diet, which was not a statistically significant difference, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Researchers evaluated 609 adults with overweight or obesity, ages 18 to 50, and also found no association between genotype pattern or baseline insulin levels and weight loss.

2/21/2018

An analysis of billing records from over 3,000 US hospitals in 2014 revealed outpatient cancer treatment costs vary widely and were often two to six times higher than the Medicare allowable amount, according to a report from the American Journal of Managed Care. Pathology had the highest price markup ratio at 4.1:1, followed by radiology at 3.7:1 and radiation oncology at 3.6:1, and estimated cancer treatment expenses ranged from $50,000 to $500,000.

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HealthLeaders Media
2/21/2018

HHS Secretary Alex Azar said he's open to state experimentation on Affordable Care Act and Medicaid rules so states can provide more affordable health care coverage. Azar said that without legislation to repeal and replace the ACA, the administration may lack the flexibility to support states' ideas, but he intends to work with CMS Administrator Seema Verma to explore the options under current law.

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Alex Azar, Seema Verma, Medicaid, HHS
2/21/2018

Chris Sullens of LifeWorks said its wellness communications survey of 500 US and Canadian employees found 82% participate in at least one wellness activity and 64% said their company did a good or excellent job at getting them excited about the program. Men and women were interested in fitness challenges, but men also wanted personal wellness reports and health coaching, while women wanted health screenings and stress management training.

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HR Technologist
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LifeWorks
2/21/2018

Finger Lakes Community College in New York increased its focus on employee financial wellness by participating in National Retirement Security Week and dedicating the fall of 2017 to promoting social and financial health. This year the school is looking at topics such as women in the workplace and emotional preparation for retirement to present during National Retirement Security Week.

2/21/2018

Exclusive, current use of cigarettes or cigars increased all-cause mortality risks, researchers reported in JAMA Internal Medicine. Risks of dying from a tobacco-related cancer were higher for exclusive current and former cigarette smokers and for exclusive current cigar and pipe smokers, the study found.

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JAMA Internal Medicine
2/21/2018

Infants whose mothers received influenza and Tdap immunizations during pregnancy didn't have a higher hospitalization or mortality risk in the first six months of life, compared with those whose mothers didn't receive either vaccine, CDC researchers reported in Pediatrics. The findings, based on 2004 to 2014 data involving 413,034 live births, also linked maternal Tdap vaccination to a protective effect against infant respiratory hospitalizations.

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CDC
2/21/2018

The House Energy and Commerce Committee plans to hold a hearing next week on bills to address and prevent opioid drug misuse. Two more hearings are planned before a vote targeted for May, according to Committee Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore.

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The Hill
2/21/2018

Pharmacy benefit manager Prime Therapeutics held costs steady for its clients last year, with a slight annual decline in monthly per-member drug expenditures in Medicare, Medicaid and commercial plans, despite increases in utilization, according to a new report.

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Prime Therapeutics, Medicare