AHIP research: 20M consumers use HSAs | Study shows health care disparity between low-, high-income workers | Data show physicians billed $35M for advance care planning
February 20, 2017
AHIP Solutions SmartBrief
Top Stories
AHIP research: 20M consumers use HSAs
Health savings accounts are important tools to help reduce health care costs and give consumers more choice and control over their care, writes AHIP President and CEO Marilyn Tavenner, noting that research from AHIP finds that 20 million consumers are taking advantage of the accounts. Greater flexibility would improve their utility as a means for making health care more affordable, she writes.
AHIP blog (2/16) 
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Study shows health care disparity between low-, high-income workers
Researchers found that insured workers with the lowest wages are three times more likely to obtain care at an emergency department and over four times more likely to be hospitalized for an avoidable condition as the highest-earning employees. The study, published in Health Affairs, notes that lower-wage workers may have difficulty accessing care after work or avoid free preventive services because of concerns they will be unable to manage cost sharing if any problems are diagnosed.
Kaiser Health News (2/17) 
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Providers & Suppliers
Data show physicians billed $35M for advance care planning
CMS data from January to June 2016 showed health care professionals billed almost $35 million for advance care planning sessions with about 223,000 patients, including almost $16 million paid by Medicare. Some Republicans want to eliminate the new reimbursement, but family physician Peter Sutherland in Morristown, Tenn., said the payments have allowed him to schedule more end-of-life conversations with patients.
Kaiser Health News (2/15) 
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Medicare Advantage: New Vision & New Strategies
Join our webinar February 28 @ 2 pm ET. In 2017 as regulations change, budgets tighten, provider engagement deepens, and technology improves, health plans and capitated medical groups need to launch a new vision and new strategies. We will discuss when to launch strategies for retro, concurrent and care; initial medical record reviews vs 2LRs and 3LRs; and more.
Medical Update
CDC reports moderate flu season, vaccine efficacy of 48%
CDC reports moderate flu season, vaccine efficacy of 48%
(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Influenza activity so far this season has been moderate, with elevated activity expected to continue for several more weeks, CDC researchers reported in the agency's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. An accompanying report showed that the batch of flu vaccine distributed this year has been 48% effective, compared with 47% vaccine efficacy last year.
Medscape (free registration) (2/16),  CNN (2/17) 
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Emerging Trends
WHO: Dementia deaths more than doubled over 15 years
Dementia led to 1.54 million deaths in 2015, more than double the total from 2000, according to the World Health Organization. The number is likely to keep growing because experimental drugs have not proven effective against dementia, WHO says.
Bloomberg (2/15) 
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Dosing errors reduced with infusion pumps linked to EMRs
Data from ICU Medical showed integration of its Plum infusion pumps and Hospira MedNet safety software into hospital electronic medical records systems reduced potentially catastrophic dosing errors by 52% and increased compliance with drug libraries by 156% on average. The study was conducted at three community hospitals in the US.
Drug Delivery Business News (2/15) 
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Health Insurance Plan Company News
Webinar: CMS Advance Notice: Implications for MA Plans
CMS has released its Advance Notice and Draft Call Letter for 2018 payments. View our webinar to hear industry experts discuss how the Advance Notice and Draft Call Letter will impact MA plans.
Solutions Provider News
Insights into health care policy
AHIP's National Health Policy Conference, March 8 through March 9, in Washington, D.C. features speakers from the incoming administration, academia, and throughout the industry and delivers insights into key policy priorities on improving health care for every American. Register today.
Hot Topics
Pharma News
GAO reviews FDA oversight of drug shortages, foreign operations
The FDA's action plan to address drug shortages and its ability to effectively inspect foreign suppliers of US pharmaceuticals are concerns the agency needs to address, according a report from the Government Accountability Office. The GAO noted significant improvement in the FDA's oversight of medical devices.
Regulatory Focus (2/16) 
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Generic migraine drug launched by Mayne
A generic butalbital acetaminophen has been released by Mayne Pharma as a treatment for tension headaches. The drug will be available in 50-mg/300-mg tablets.
Drug Store News (2/16) 
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Policy Watch
AHIP: Insurers need clarity for 2018
Republican plans for replacing the Affordable Care Act involve giving states more power, integrating health savings accounts and other measures, and AHIP supports the HSA idea, but spokeswoman Kristine Grow said insurers need more information about how consumers will be encouraged to maintain coverage, so they can develop products accordingly for next year.
Healthcare Finance News (2/17) 
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Senate unanimously confirms Shulkin as VA chief
David Shulkin was confirmed in a 100-0 vote as secretary for the Department of Veterans Affairs after serving as VA undersecretary for health since 2015. About 45,000 VA health care system jobs are vacant, and some lawmakers have called for a privatized system.
The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (2/13),  MedPage Today (free registration) (2/14) 
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The policy prescription for high drug costs
What's the policy prescription for managing high drug spending? Join the conversation with Dr. Charles Fazio, Dr. Aaron Kesselheim, and Dr. Martin Makary at AHIP's National Health Policy Conference, March 8 through March 9 in D.C. Additional sessions focus on modernizing the delivery system, payment reforms, and benefit design changes that help improve care. See the agenda and register today.
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Impressive career credentials start here
Ready to take your career to the next level? Discover how AHIP's insurance education online self-study programs can help you deepen your expertise, gain a wider understanding of the fast-changing industry, and grow professionally. Take a single course or enroll in a targeted program towards a professional designation within your specialty. Find out today which opportunities are right for you.
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Webinar: Cost-savings lever in your Medicare bid
Variability in the costs of post-acute care (between regions, providers, and settings of care) necessitate proper post-acute care management for your members as they are on the path to healing at home. Join us March 14 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. ET to learn from CareCentrix's findings on successful home health and post-acute care management, as demonstrated through examples and case studies.
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