6 questions to ask when crisis sweeps away normalcy | Initial unemployment claims drop to 1.2M | Biometrics find niche in health, wellness programs
August 7, 2020
AHIP Agents & Brokers SmartBrief
Best Business Practices
A crisis can be used by leaders to uncover what's not working and discover opportunities for growth, writes Eileen McDargh. She offers six questions leaders can ask to pinpoint such improvements and how to develop the "intelligent optimism" that marks resiliency.
Full Story: SmartBrief/Leadership (8/6) 
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Prospects, Products and Market Trends
Initial unemployment claims decreased to about 1.2 million last week, the lowest tally since March, according to the Labor Department. The decline came after a plateau in applications in recent weeks.
Full Story: The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (8/6) 
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Companies are using biometrics in areas such as security and risk reduction, physical monitoring of employees, and wellness programs. Some health and wellness programs are through an employer's insurance provider, such as Humana's partnership with Fitbit, while others include devices and apps that track everything from diet and sleep to mental health.
Full Story: TechTarget (free registration) (8/4) 
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Policy and the Health Care Landscape
After meeting for the 10th time Thursday, Trump administration officials and congressional Democratic leaders said they are still far from resolving key differences on a fifth pandemic relief package. President Donald Trump has warned he will issue executive orders to address the economic crisis if negotiations continue to fail, and senior officials have said the orders could be issued as soon as today.
Full Story: USA Today (8/7),  Politico (8/6) 
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The Infectious Diseases Society of America and the HIV Medicine Association are calling for a national strategy on masks and a federal mandate for mask wearing to fight COVID-19. There is a "critical window of time" to reduce the spread of COVID-19 before the influenza season begins and hospitals likely become overwhelmed, they write in a letter to Vice President Mike Pence.
Full Story: Forbes (8/5) 
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President Donald Trump on Thursday signed an executive order requiring the government to purchase essential drugs from companies in the US instead of those overseas. White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said the order also lifts some pharmaceutical manufacturing regulations and accelerates the review process for making some drug ingredients.
Full Story: Reuters (8/6),  CNBC (8/6) 
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Pennsylvania will be running its own health insurance exchange for the 2021 plan year, and the state insurance department expects premiums to be an average of 5% lower than if the state had continued using HealthCare.gov and had not set up a reinsurance program. State officials are expanding enrollment outreach and extending the open enrollment period, and will be able to open special enrollment periods if needed.
Full Story: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (tiered subscription model) (8/3) 
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More researchers and public health experts are voicing support for more accessible COVID-19 testing using less accurate tests that can be administered quickly and frequently, such as antigen testing kits by BD and Quidel that are authorized for emergency use. "Even if you miss somebody on Day 1, if you test them repeatedly, the argument is, you'll catch them the next time around," said Omai Garner, UCLA Health system's director of clinical microbiology.
Full Story: The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (8/6) 
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Risks, I like to say, always pay off. You learn what to do, or what not to do.
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