News for Insurers
Top stories summarized by our editors
2/20/2019

A study published in the journal Circulation showed rising incidence of heart attack and related hospital admissions among young women ages 35 to 54. The study examined data from communities in four US states and found an increase in the overall proportion of heart attack-related admissions involving young adults from 1995 to 2014, but a decrease in the annual incidence of heart attack hospitalizations among young men.

Full Story:
CNN
2/20/2019

The CMS said it has regained authority to terminate the contracts of Medicare Advantage and Part D drug plans with star ratings that fall below three stars for three consecutive years, after a moratorium on its ability to terminate such contracts expired on Dec. 31. A memo sent to MA organizations on Feb. 6 said the CMS will use the 2020 Star Ratings as the first set of ratings counted toward possible termination, meaning no contracts will be terminated before the 2022 ratings are released.

2/20/2019

Novo Nordisk's biologics license application for Esperoct, or turoctocog alfa pegol, was approved by the FDA as a treatment for adult and pediatric patients with hemophilia A. The decision was backed by data from treatment of 270 patients with severe hemophilia A who had been treated previously and had more than five years of clinical exposure, in whom treatment was effective when administered once daily every four days in adults and every three to four days in children.

More Summaries:
Novo Nordisk, Novo, FDA
2/20/2019

The City Council in Watertown, S.D., approved a wellness benefit that reimburses wellness center membership costs for city employees based on how often they use the facility. Employees who go to the wellness center an average of three times each week will be reimbursed for the entire cost of the membership.

More Summaries:
City Council
2/20/2019

A workplace satisfaction survey conducted by ERP and Workwise found 70% of employees were happy with their work-life balance, compared with 13% who were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied. The survey found 43% of companies offered flexible hours, 35% had free snacks and 21% offered tuition reimbursement.

Full Story:
ZDNet
More Summaries:
Workwise
2/20/2019

Babies whose mothers used marijuana during pregnancy were 82% more likely to have low birth weight, 79% more likely to be preterm and 43% more likely to go to the neonatal intensive care unit, compared with those without prenatal marijuana exposure, researchers reported at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting. Another study presented at the same meeting showed significantly increased odds of marijuana use among pregnant women in Colorado after marijuana legalization, as well as increased prevalence of fetal growth restriction and spontaneous premature birth.

2/20/2019

The city of Livonia, Mich., is working with St. Mary Mercy Hospital and other groups to support the Healthy Livonia initiative that encourages people to meet individualized step goals. Participants use their smartphone and the Carrot app to track steps walked and earn rewards.

2/20/2019

Oncology care pushed Medicare drug spending higher in 2017, accounting for 43% to 58% of per-member-per-month spending in commercial, Medicare and Medicaid plans, according to a report from Magellan Rx Management, and specialty drug spending accounted for the vast majority of drug spending across all plan types.

Full Story:
HealthLeaders Media
2/20/2019

A North Carolina Senate bill would loosen requirements for association health plans by allowing non-affiliated employers within the same region or metropolitan area to have access to the plans. In some cases that would allow for the crossing of state lines.

More Summaries:
North Carolina, Senate
2/20/2019

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries settled three antitrust cases with the Federal Trade Commission, agreeing not to enter more patent settlement agreements that impede market entry of generic drugs.

Full Story:
Reuters