News for Insurers
Top stories summarized by our editors
1/18/2018

The Senate Finance Committee voted 15-12 to advance Alex Azar's nomination as HHS secretary. The former Eli Lilly and Co. executive now faces a vote in the full Senate, where confirmation is expected.

1/18/2018

Youths who smoked cigarettes in early adolescence or those who used marijuana in early and late adolescence were more likely to have psychotic experiences such as delusions, hallucinations and thought interferences at age 18, compared with those who didn't use either substance, researchers reported in JAMA Psychiatry. The findings showed that only the association between marijuana use and subsequent psychosis remained strong after adjusting for other factors, while evidence linking early psychotic experiences to increased cigarette or marijuana use was limited.

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marijuana, psychosis
1/18/2018

The CMS has proposed a new policy to fight the opioid abuse epidemic by preventing at-risk Medicare beneficiaries from obtaining prescription drugs from multiple physicians or pharmacies. Locking certain beneficiaries in to a single prescriber for Medicare Part D benefits will improve care coordination while maintaining access to necessary painkillers and make it easier to track billing patterns, CMS official Kimberly Brandt said at a House subcommittee hearing Wednesday.

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opioid abuse, painkillers
1/18/2018

Physical therapist Heather Henry says evidence does not support the idea that people who have muscle soreness after a workout, which can be caused by microscopic tears in muscle fibers, get stronger than those without pain. Henry says a better way to evaluate a workout is through physical measures, such as heart rate, speed and endurance, over time.

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HealthDay News
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heart rate
1/18/2018

AHIP, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and four other health care provider organizations are working to streamline prior authorizations to improve access to timely and affordable care while reducing administrative burdens. The groups agreed to reduce the number of providers subject to prior authorization rules, improve communication, and regularly review services and medications that require prior authorization.

1/18/2018

Cancer patients may benefit from returning to work if they are able, even during their treatment, as it can provide a sense of normalcy and stimulation, experts said. Oncology specialist Anne Larkin encourages people to return to work as quickly as possible but says they can face challenges with issues such as body image, privacy and productivity.

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Worcester Mag (Mass.)
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cancer
1/18/2018

Small business owners may try to help employees deal with mental health problems, but it can be difficult if they do not have human resources staff. There are legal requirements and productivity concerns, and Jay Starkman, CEO of Engage PEO, says business owners also must consider the effect that the employee's problems could have on other staff and the work environment.

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The Associated Press
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Jay Starkman
1/18/2018

A study in Diabetologia showed that adults with child-onset type 1 diabetes had lower employment and earnings by the time they reach ages between 30 and 50, compared with those without diabetes. Researchers used a cohort of 21,162 adults with and without diabetes from the Swedish Childhood Diabetes Register and found the factors that played a major role in the effect of diabetes on employment and earnings include health, education, choice of occupation and decision of adults to form a family together.

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Diabetes (UK)
1/18/2018

Almost 1 in 4 children and adolescents had elevated blood pressure readings during initial screening, but secondary screening indicated just over 2% of the youths had sustained hypertension over time, according to a study in the Journal of Clinical Hypertension. "Because an elevated first blood pressure in youth is common, correct identification of truly elevated blood pressure may be a first step to improve the recognition of hypertension in pediatric care," said researcher Corinna Koebnick.

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HealthDay News
1/18/2018

The US Patent Trial and Appeal Board said a patent never should have been granted to Johnson & Johnson for describing a method of administering its prostate cancer drug Zytiga, and the ruling clears the way for generic competition.

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Reuters
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Johnson & Johnson, Appeal Board