News for Insurers
Top stories summarized by our editors
5/25/2018

SmartBrief has updated its Privacy and Cookie Policy. Here are the key things for you to note: Our Privacy and Cookie Policy has been rewritten to make it easier to understand and to address new EU requirements. The policy outlines how we collect, use, share and protect your personal data. It also includes details on how you can make choices about your information and the measures we've put in place to keep your information secure. We encourage you to review our new policy at smartbrief.com/privacy.

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smartbrief.com
5/25/2018

A Congressional Budget Office report estimates that the federal government will spend approximately $705 billion on health insurance assistance this year, which translates to $2,582 per American under 65. Of the total, $82 billion will go to people under 65 who qualify for Medicare, $49 billion will go to the Affordable Care Act premium tax credit program and $4 billion will go to ACA's Basic Health Program.

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CBO, Medicare, ACA
5/25/2018

A study in Diabetic Medicine, based on follow-up from the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth study, found that young adults with type 2 diabetes tend to have worse glycemic control and would benefit from personalized programs and policies to help them transition from pediatric to adult care. "Reasonable developmentally appropriate goals and engagement of other care providers who can support the young adult during this difficult time in their life is a key strategy to ensuring the patient continues optimal diabetes care and control," said study author Dr. Shivani Agarwal.

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diabetes
5/25/2018

A World Cancer Research Fund report showed an association between obesity and an increased risk of 12 cancers, including breast, esophagus, gallbladder, kidney and liver cancers. The report also recommends being physically active; limiting consumption of fast food, high-fat products, red and processed meats, alcohol and sugar; and eating a diet rich in beans, fruit, whole grains and vegetables to reduce cancer risks.

5/25/2018

Anthem's plans to purchase Aspire Health, a Tennessee-based palliative care provider that uses "predictive clinical and claims-based patient algorithms" to help patients with serious conditions, continues a trend of convergence in the health care industry bringing together health insurers and health care providers. Aspire CEO Brad Smith said studies demonstrate the importance of advanced care for patient satisfaction, lower rates of hospitalization and lower spending.

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HealthLeaders Media
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Aspire Health
5/25/2018

An ingestible device bearing genetically modified bacteria may one day enable diagnosis of gastrointestinal problems by converting the bacterial response to the human gut into a smartphone-readable wireless signal. The "bacteria-on-a-chip" technology was tested in mice and pigs, and it was found to correctly detect the presence of blood in the stomach, researchers reported in the journal Science.

5/25/2018

The FDA granted approval to Biomarin Pharmaceutical's Palynziq, or pegvaliase-pqpz, for use in reducing blood phenylalanine concentrations in adult patients with phenylketonuria, whose blood Phe concentrations is higher than 600 micromo/L and is uncontrolled. The decision was supported by data from a late-stage trial in which the drug reduced blood Phe levels of patients versus placebo use.

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Rare Disease Report
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FDA, BioMarin Pharmaceutical
5/25/2018

Proposed legislation in the Senate would require Medicare to reimburse health care providers who offer behavioral health consultations for opioid use disorder and other substance abuse disorders via telemedicine. The Expanding Telehealth Response to Ensure Addiction Treatment Act would remove geographic restrictions on telehealth reimbursement.

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Medicare, Bill, Senate
5/25/2018

The YMCA of Dodge County is the latest worksite to be added to the Blue Zones Project in the Wisconsin community. The initiative was led by an employee wellness team that used positive messaging and well-being reminders to encourage physical activity, such as taking the steps instead of the elevator, and eating more plant-based foods.

5/25/2018

The Congressional Budget Office says one of the costliest drug pricing ideas in President Donald Trump's budget would be requiring Medicare Part D plans to share rebates at pharmacies. The CBO projects the proposal would cost the government $43.4 billion over 10 years, which is close to a previous estimate of $42.1 billion from the White House Office of Management and Budget.