News for Insurers
Top stories summarized by our editors
10/20/2017

Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., announced Thursday that 12 Republicans and 12 Democrats signed on to co-sponsor their bipartisan deal aimed at stabilizing the Affordable Care Act markets. Alexander expects the proposal to "become law in some fashion before the end of the year," despite a lack of commitment by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to bring it to the Senate floor for a vote.

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CNBC, The Hill
10/20/2017

As Congress debates the future of the Affordable Care Act, insurers are focused on enrolling as many Americans as possible when ACA exchanges open Nov. 1, says AHIP spokeswoman Kristine Grow. A shorter enrollment period, less federal support for outreach and the elimination of cost-sharing reduction payments have created a difficult climate, but the most immediate concern among industry leaders is consumer confusion, Grow said.

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Kristine Grow, ACA, AHIP, Congress
10/20/2017

Eight out of 10 Americans who purchase health insurance through an Affordable Care Act marketplace are eligible for financial assistance and likely won't be adversely affected by premium hikes resulting from the Trump administration's decision to stop cost-sharing reduction payments, according to industry experts. AHIP's Kelley Turek, executive director of exchange operations and policy, says there is a lot of confusion among Americans about how they will be affected, but as premiums rise, so will tax credits for eligible enrollees.

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HealthDay News
10/20/2017

A Phase III trial of mongersen, or GED-0301, for the treatment of Crohn's disease was suspended by Celgene after an independent committee conducted an interim futility analysis and benefit-risk assessment of the drug. Celgene said it will decide what is next for the drug candidate after data from a midstage trial evaluating it for an ulcerative colitis indication is available.

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Crohn's disease, Celgene
10/20/2017

A survey of attendees at the 2017 PLANADVISER National Conference found 75% offered financial wellness programs but 61% did not have a specific strategy. A panel agreed there is no one definition of financial wellness, but Jon Shuman of MassMutual said plan advisers can create their own definition of financial wellness return-on-investment.

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PlanAdviser online
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MassMutual
10/20/2017

The CDC has issued updated guidance saying that pediatricians should evaluate the risk of congenital Zika virus infection in babies born to mothers with possible Zika infection during gestation; communicate with obstetric providers; provide vision and hearing screenings and assessments for hydrocephaly, swallowing and breathing difficulties among those with congenital Zika syndrome birth defects; and let ophthalmologists offer eye exams for those without CZS birth defects but whose mothers have laboratory evidence of Zika. However, the guidelines in the agency's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report now recommend against routine infant thyroid and hearing screenings at ages 4 months to 6 months.

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CDC
10/20/2017

More than 46% of US children reported having had at least one adverse childhood experience, with Arkansas and Minnesota having the highest and lowest rates, respectively, according the 2016 National Survey of Children's Health. The poll also found that about 64% of blacks experienced at least one adverse event, compared with 51% of Hispanics and 40% of whites.

10/20/2017

The nonprofit Kitchen on the Street program in Phoenix provides food-insecure students with backpacks of nutritious foods for them to eat over the weekend. The backpacks include a letter providing nutrition information and places families can go to find more food if the supply runs out.

10/20/2017

The HHS Office of Inspector General is investigating the FDA's enforcement of the risk evaluation and mitigation strategy program as it relates to opioid drugs.

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HHS, REMS, FDA
10/20/2017

Patients and payers in South Carolina will save $10.3 billion over 10 years thanks to pharmacy benefit managers, writes Edmund Pezalla, a scholar-in-residence at the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy.