News for Insurers
Top stories summarized by our editors
6/27/2017

Children raised in low-income families had higher odds of developing an enlarged and poorly functioning lower left heart chamber, which is indicative of heart failure, after 30 years, compared with those in high-income families, Finnish researchers reported in JAMA Pediatrics. The findings should prompt more studies on determining approaches that can reduce income and health inequalities among youths, according to an accompanying editorial.

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HealthDay News
6/27/2017

Republican senators on Monday released an amended version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act that includes a provision requiring consumers who had a lapse in coverage for 63 days or longer to wait for six months before buying insurance on the individual market. GOP leaders worked over the weekend to ensure that the provision, which aims to address concerns over the bill's repeal of the individual mandate, does not violate the Senate budget reconciliation rules, aides said.

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GOP, Senate
6/27/2017

Decisions on when to begin and end breast cancer screening and the frequency of testing for women at average risk should be a collaborative decision made by a woman and her physician after discussing her health history, concerns and preferences, according to an American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists practice bulletin. The guideline, published in Obstetrics & Gynecology, calls for this group of women to be offered screening mammograms starting at age 40, with the start of testing no later than age 50.

6/27/2017

Companies with an employee wellness program should include access to green spaces, which studies show can reduce stress and have health and quality of life benefits, according to a Harvard Business Review analysis. Easy ways to make an office greener include having walking meetings outside or taking lunch or breaks outdoors or in naturally lit areas.

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Harvard Business Review
6/27/2017

Consultant Rosie Ward of Salveo Partners said most health and well-being challenges faced by employers are adaptive, not technical. Ward said companies should bring their experts together, consider all data, identify themes and then integrate a meaningful wellness program, instead of having a patchwork system.

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Employee Benefit News
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Rosie Ward, Salveo Partners
6/27/2017

The Better Together initiative in La Crosse County, Wis., has launched its action phase with four strategies to improve mental wellness. The strategies focus on improved resilience and coping skills, increased informal support systems, better integration and communication among community systems, and greater awareness and improved attitudes about mental health.

6/27/2017

As drugmakers push prices higher, some are attacking employers and payers that offer prescription drug coverage, writes John Jones, professor of pharmacy law and ethics. "The basic fact: Drug companies set the price of the drug. They can charge whatever they feel the market will bear. To combat these massive price hikes, employers, unions and health plans hire pharmacy benefit managers to negotiate lower drug costs," Jones writes.

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John Jones
6/27/2017

Pharmacy benefit managers harness market forces to reduce insulin prices, but drugmakers are able to keep prices high on products for which no competition exists, the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association said in a statement.

6/27/2017

Barry Cadden, the owner and chief pharmacist of New England Compounding Center, was convicted of racketeering and fraud and sentenced to serve 108 months in prison and three years of supervised release for his role in a 2012 meningitis outbreak caused by tainted steroid injections made at his facility. Prosecutors said Cadden produced drugs in unsanitary conditions and violated regulations.

6/27/2017

Joshua Miller, a resident of St. Paul, Minn., received a five-year prison sentence for his involvement in a $4 million public benefits fraud scheme orchestrated by Yasmin Abdulle Ali, owner of All Nations Home Health Care and Deqo Family Center, which operates several child care facilities in Minnesota. Miller, who pleaded guilty to a single count of felony racketeering, is one of four people accused of submitting fraudulent employment and care records since 2009 to obtain monetary benefits from Minnesota's health care assistance programs.