News for Insurers
Top stories summarized by our editors
7/22/2019

Newly published Drug Enforcement Administration data tracks 380 million transactions from 2006 through 2012 and three-quarters of total shipments of oxycodone and hydrocodone pills to US pharmacies, shedding light on the scope and distribution of opioid use amid a rising epidemic of abuse. For example, the data show that six companies accounted for distribution of 75% of the pills, three companies manufactured 88% of them and some counties were more heavily affected than others.

7/22/2019

Salaries for primary care physicians are increasing faster than compensation for specialists, according to a report from the Medical Group Management Association. Compensation for primary care physicians increased by 10.46% in the last five years with median compensation of $266,500, while specialist salaries grew 7.78% with an average of $443,881.

7/22/2019

A federal judge upheld a Trump administration rule extending the duration of short-term health plans, which do not comply with the Affordable Care Act's coverage requirements, from three months to one year, noting the rule's potential negative impact is minimal "but its benefits are undeniable." The plaintiffs say they will appeal the ruling.

7/22/2019

A study presented at the Alzheimer's Association annual meeting showed that older adults who said they "often" or "almost always" took sleep medications had 43% higher odds of developing dementia over 15 years, compared with those who rarely or never used sleep medications. Researchers also found a 79% increased likelihood of dementia among white patients, but not black patients, who frequently used sleeping pills.

7/22/2019

After rising for a decade or more, the number of attempts to quit smoking leveled off between 2011 and 2017 in most states, according to the CDC. About 65% of smokers had tried at least once to quit over a given year during that period, researchers reported in the agency's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, but most smokers try multiple times to quit before succeeding, and Northwell Health's Center for Tobacco Control Director Patricia Folan says coaching, counseling and smoking-cessation medications can improve odds of success.

Full Story:
HealthDay News
More Summaries:
CDC, Tobacco Control
7/22/2019

The CMS said it has updated the Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program Scorecard data to reflect information on postpartum care, well-child appointments, adult hospitalizations involving diabetes and more. "More states are voluntarily reporting their health outcomes in the scorecard, and the new data is leading us into an era of increased transparency and accountability," CMS Administrator Seema Verma said.

7/22/2019

Health insurance premiums are dropping dramatically on the Western Slope of Colorado, and Linda Gann, an official from the state's insurance marketplace, credits the reinsurance bill passed by the state Legislature last session. Premiums for most of the Western Slope region should drop by 30% if the reinsurance program is approved by HHS.

7/22/2019

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon expects the Medicaid work requirements taking effect in the state next year to result in reduced life expectancy and increased uncompensated care, but his team is working to minimize harm. Gordon said his agency is working to educate beneficiaries about how and why they should comply with the rule, noting that "without insurance, there will be more people in emergency rooms, there will be more uncompensated care costs. ... [t]here will be more people suffering and more people living less long than they should."

7/22/2019

Nonprofits large and small are boosting incentive pay as well as health, wellness and retirement benefits to attract and retain top executives, according to Tim Dupuis, vice president at executive compensation firm Pearl Meyer & Partners. Many members of nonprofits' boards work at for-profit companies and find pay-for-performance an attractive way to compensate leaders, says Blaire Miller, co-managing partner of executive search firm Hunter Group.

More Summaries:
Pearl Meyer & Partners
7/22/2019

Orthostatic hypotension affects astronauts when they return to Earth, causing a high heart rate and low blood pressure, but astronauts who engaged in endurance and resistance exercises for two hours a day while in space and received intravenous saline fluid did not experience steep changes in heart rate or blood pressure. The exercise program has been adapted to help people with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, which causes frequent fainting.

Full Story:
CNN