January 15, 2021
AHIP Solutions SmartBrief
Top Stories
President-elect Joe Biden on Thursday unveiled his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan that includes $20 billion in funding for a national vaccine program, $350 billion for state and local governments, $50 billion for COVID-19 testing, and $170 billion for K-12 schools, colleges and universities. Dubbed the American Rescue Plan, the proposal would provide $1,400 in direct payments to most Americans, boost federal unemployment benefits to $400 per week, raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, and extend the eviction and foreclosure bans until the end of September.
Full Story: CNN (1/15),  The New York Times (1/15),  CNBC (1/14) 
LinkedIn Twitter Facebook Email
The CMS released its final annual Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for Affordable Care Act plans for the 2022 coverage year, lowering the user fee for plans sold on the federal exchange to 2.25% of premiums and 1.75% for plans sold on state exchanges using the federal platform. The rule also includes a provision that encourages states to collaborate with private firms to create next-generation exchanges.
Full Story: Healthcare Finance (1/14),  FierceHealthcare (1/14) 
LinkedIn Twitter Facebook Email
Providers & Suppliers
The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission voted Thursday to recommend raising Medicare payment rates to acute-care and long-term-care hospitals by 2% next year. The commission also plans to recommend to Congress to retain the payment rates for physicians and lower payments to home health firms and inpatient rehabilitation centers by 5%.
Full Story: Becker's Hospital CFO Report (1/14) 
LinkedIn Twitter Facebook Email
Medical Update
The US logged more than 200,000 new COVID-19 cases Thursday for the 10th day in a row, as well as more than 3,000 fatalities, bringing the total number of deaths to more than 388,000 since the pandemic started. New ensemble projections from the CDC predict the COVID-19 death toll could top 400,000 by the third week of January as hospitals and health systems struggle to keep up with the surge of patients with COVID-19.
Full Story: CNN (1/15) 
LinkedIn Twitter Facebook Email
CDC researchers found that cases of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 have increased in children, adolescents and young adults since September, with weekly incidence higher in every successively increasing age group. The findings, published in the agency's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, also showed that time trends in weekly reported incidence for youths were parallel with trends among adults, with positive test results and incidence rising since September.
Full Story: Physician's Briefing/HealthDay News (1/14) 
LinkedIn Twitter Facebook Email
Emerging Trends
US Department of Labor data showed first-time claims for unemployment benefits increased to 965,000 last week from 784,000 the week before. Continuing claims increased by 199,000 to 5.27 million.
Full Story: CNBC (1/14) 
LinkedIn Twitter Facebook Email
A study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine found the sharp growth in telehealth use during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic was driven more by patients seeking behavioral health care services than those seeking care for physical ailments. The findings, based on a survey of more than 2,000 respondents in May 2020, also revealed many patients switched to telehealth to connect with their own doctors.
Full Story: mHealth Intelligence (1/12) 
LinkedIn Twitter Facebook Email
Health Insurance Provider Company News
Solutions Provider News
Pharma News
An adenovirus-based COVID-19 vaccine being tested and produced by Johnson & Johnson requires only one dose and is refrigerator-stable for months, giving it an advantage over two-dose mRNA-based vaccines if it is approved. J&J signed an agreement to provide 12 million doses to the US government by the end of February and 100 million doses by the end of June, but the company is reportedly up to two months behind the original production schedule, and clinical trial results are not expected until late this month or sometime next month.
Full Story: The New York Times (1/13) 
LinkedIn Twitter Facebook Email
An updated report by the CDC indicates that the total number of COVID-19 vaccines distributed as of Jan. 14 has reached 30,628,175 doses, while the number of first doses administered now stands at 11,148,991.
Full Story: Reuters (1/14) 
LinkedIn Twitter Facebook Email
Policy Watch
Janet Woodcock has been chosen to serve as interim FDA commissioner by the Biden administration. Woodcock was the head of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research from 2008 to May 2020.
Full Story: Medical Design & Outsourcing (1/14) 
LinkedIn Twitter Facebook Email
Little has been accomplished as far as legislation to reduce drug prices despite bipartisan support, and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., indicated he might push for legislation without Republican support using budget reconciliation.
Full Story: The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (1/14) 
LinkedIn Twitter Facebook Email
Telehealth has exploded during the COVID-19 crisis, and it appears to be fulfilling its promise as a significant part of the health care system. Check out AHIP's infographic for a look at the growing use of telehealth during COVID-19 and policy recommendations for its sustained use.
What do you need to know about health insurance right now? How can you stay on top of the latest need-to-knows while managing your day-to-days? Look to AHIP's 40+ online courses, 15 designation programs, and other professional resources for the timely topics, guidance, and insights you need. Learn more and enroll today!
Join us on Thursday, Jan. 28 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET for "The Future of Risk Analytics" as experts from Change Healthcare and two health insurance providers discuss how to drive better provider engagement & influence behaviors in the risk adjustment process, and what is needed in the future for more comprehensive, integrated data and risk adjustment strategy.
About AHIP | Join AHIP | Educational Opportunities | AHIP Select
AHIP Coverage Blog | Submit press releases and other company news
Editor's Note
SmartBrief will not publish Monday
In observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the US, SmartBrief will not publish Monday. Publication will resume Tuesday.
LinkedIn Twitter Facebook Email
  Senior Vice President, Managed Care
  Medicare Insurance Sales Specialist
  Senior Health Policy Analyst
  Vice President, Health Plan Strategy and Managed Care/Chief Contracting Officer
UCSF HEALTH - San Francisco, CA, US
  Senior Policy Analyst
AHIP - Washington, DC, US
View More Listings | Post a Job
Sharing AHIP Solutions SmartBrief with your network keeps the quality of content high and these newsletters free.
Help Spread the Word
Or copy and share your personalized link:
Connect deeply with others. Our humanity is the one thing that we all have in common.
Melinda Gates,
philanthropist, advocate for women and girls
LinkedIn Twitter Facebook Email
Product announcements appearing in SmartBrief are paid advertisements and do not reflect actual AHIP endorsements. The news reported in SmartBrief does not necessarily reflect the official position of AHIP.
SmartBrief publishes more than 200 free industry newsletters - Browse our portfolio
Sign Up  |    Update Profile  |    Advertise with SmartBrief
Unsubscribe  |    Privacy policy
SmartBrief, Inc.®, 555 11th ST NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20004