News for Insurers
Top stories summarized by our editors
6/22/2018

A survey of parents found cancer prevention was the most convincing reason health care providers could give for getting children vaccinated against human papillomavirus, while preventing a common infection and having lasting benefits also garnered support, researchers wrote in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. The worst reasons providers gave included telling parents the vaccination was a scientific breakthrough and that they had their own child vaccinated.

6/22/2018

Visiting a national park provides a number of health benefits, according to National Park Foundation President and CEO Will Shafroth and Humana Chief Medical Officer Dr. Roy Beveridge. The National Park Foundation and Humana have created a Park Rx program along with Florida International University and MetCare to encourage patients to regularly visit parks as a way to improve their physical and mental health.

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Next Avenue
6/22/2018

Pharmacy benefit managers negotiate rebates and discounts from drugmakers and pharmacies on behalf of employers and public programs, reducing overall drug spending, writes Dr. Edmund Pezalla, a scholar-in-residence at the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy. "Companies and public programs providing prescription drug coverage hire PBMs for their expertise, and ability to reduce drug costs by negotiating for rebates and discounts from big drug companies and drugstores," Pezalla writes.

6/22/2018

Technology will be an integral component of efforts to stop opioid-drug misuse in the US, Pharmaceutical Care Management Association President and CEO Mark Merritt said during a PCMA-sponsored conference. Existing technology can be used now to save lives, Merritt said.

6/22/2018

The FDA withdrew draft guidance for evaluating studies used to demonstrate biosimilarity and will reissue the draft guidance after considering changes to "promote a more efficient pathway for the development of biosimilar products." Biosimilars foster competition and lower prices, but the market for them has not advanced quickly, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said.

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Regulatory Focus
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FDA, Commissioner Scott Gottlieb
6/22/2018

Blood glucose levels have remained near normal for five to eight years in a small group of patients with type 1 diabetes who were given an decades-old, inexpensive generic vaccine for tuberculosis called bacillus Calmette-Guerin, which appears to increase levels of T regulatory cells and encourage aerobic glycolysis, says Denise Faustman, senior author of a study published in npj Vaccines. The patients remain on insulin therapy, but at a lower dose than before the trial, and do not need to monitor their blood glucose levels as frequently as their peers, Faustman says.

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Denise Faustman, Tuberculosis
6/22/2018

Atul Gawande, who is to lead a new health care entity formed by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase, told AHIP's annual meeting his position will allow him to reduce waste and improve medical treatment for a million workers. "We will come to a place where we can generate scalable solutions that change the practice of medicine," Gawande said.

6/22/2018

A Society for Human Resource Management survey of human resources professionals found the number of organizations offering consumer-directed health plans increased from 23% in 2017 to 40% in 2018. The survey found the use of telemedicine by employers increased from 23% in 2016 to 62% in 2018.

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Workforce online
6/22/2018

The Alliance for Lifetime Income, a nonprofit group of insurers and asset managers focused on touting annuities, has several goals, including educating advisers and clients about annuities, shifting the retirement focus from asset accumulation to protecting income for life, and simplifying the language describing annuities. Research done by the group shows that 73% of people with income protection such as an annuity do not worry about retirement.

6/22/2018

Tennessee-based Livingston Regional Hospital agreed to a $784,000 settlement deal to resolve a whistleblower lawsuit accusing the hospital of violating the False Claims Act and defrauding Medicare. Authorities alleged the hospital improperly billed Medicare for unnecessary inpatient psychiatric care services from July 9, 2015, to Oct. 31, 2015.

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Medicare