An analysis of 75 preliminary premium rate filings in 13 states and Washington, D.C., showed most insurers in Affordable Care Act marketplaces expect health care use will rebound to pre-pandemic levels next year and the pandemic will not significantly affect health care spending. Only 13 of 75 insurers said the pandemic would increase their costs, and expected increases were less than 1%, according to the Peterson-Kaiser Family Foundation Health System Tracker.
The $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill scheduled for a vote this week in the Senate includes a few provisions focusing on the health care sector, including allowing 2% sequestration cuts to Medicare payments to resume after a moratorium expires. The package also includes a requirement that drugmakers refund Medicare beginning in 2023 for all single-use or single-dose drugs dispensed under Medicare Part B that are discarded and a measure that would require all federal contracts for acquisition of personal protective equipment to go to domestic manufacturers and have a two-year duration.
COVID-19 vaccination rates are increasing in many states amid rising concerns about the Delta variant, and some of the largest growth in first-dose vaccinations was seen in states with the worst outbreaks. The latest CDC data show the seven-day average of reported first- and second-dose vaccinations jumped 16% to 615,000 per day compared with the previous week, and 48 states plus Washington, D.C., have recorded an increase in average daily first-dose vaccinations.
Magdalena Jimenez, a pharmacy employee from Newark, N.J., entered a guilty plea to conspiring to violate the federal anti-kickback statute. Authorities said Jimenez, who was employed as a pharmacy technician and sales representative for a New Jersey-based pharmacy, collaborated with co-workers to pay kickbacks to a doctor's employee in exchange for numerous prescriptions.
The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced several drug pricing measures last week, including legislation that would allow the Federal Trade Commission to take action against firms that submit sham petitions in an effort to delay competition and a bill that would target pay-for-delay deals. The panel also voted to advance legislation that would require the FTC to examine the drug supply chain and the role of pharmacy benefit managers, and lawmakers also advanced a measure that would target patent abuse through product hopping.
Some employers are adding more paid time off to help staff members avoid stress and burnout, but that may be just a small part of the solution, according to Paylocity chief human resources officer Cheryl Johnson. More emphasis needs to be placed on resources and benefits to help employees manage daily workload, set boundaries, and achieve workplace goals, Johnson says.
The Walt Disney Co. is among the latest large employers to announce that US staff members must receive COVID-19 vaccinations before returning to work. New hires will need to get the vaccine before starting, employees working from home will have to show vaccination proof before returning to offices, and unvaccinated staff members planning to work on-site will have 60 days to get the vaccine, the company said.
Fitness experts note that dancing to music can be an effective early morning workout. It can help increase strength, control weight, boost stability and coordination, and improve mood.
New analyses based on the TODAY study showed that most children and adolescents with type 2 diabetes were likely to develop complications like microvascular disease as young adults. The findings published in the New England Journal of Medicine also indicated that individuals from underrepresented groups and those with hypertension, dyslipidemia, and hyperglycemia were more likely to experience the complications.
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