January 25, 2022
AHIP Agents & Brokers SmartBrief
Best Business Practices
A lack of empathy from leaders can encourage employees to resign. Here are three suggestions for managers to better connect with employees, including devoting time during meetings to learn how employees are doing.
Full Story: Entrepreneur (1/23) 
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Prospects, Products and Market Trends
A study conducted by Cigna found patients using virtual care can save an average of $93 per visit on nonurgent care, an average of $120 on specialist care, and up to $141 per visit on urgent care. The analysis, based on data from Cigna's telehealth unit MDLive, found use of virtual care was associated with 19% fewer emergency department or urgent care visits, while virtual urgent care visits were tied to 16% lower duplication of care compared with visits to other virtual care specialists or providers.
Full Story: FierceHealthcare (1/21),  Becker's Payer Issues (1/21) 
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Adding new or more innovative benefits is one way for small-business owners to attract employees in a challenging employment environment. Offering flexible scheduling, mental health coverage, better core health benefits, student loan assistance, and fringe benefits like stipends and memberships may be helpful.
Full Story: The Philadelphia Inquirer (tiered subscription model) (1/25) 
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There are many unpredictable factors in a person's life and in the broader economy, and it is better for financial planning efforts to acknowledge these complexities rather than striving for an unrealistic sense of certainty, writes Tim Maurer of Triad Financial Advisors.
Full Story: Forbes (tiered subscription model) (1/23) 
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Policy and the Health Care Landscape
Conditions are ripe for the emergence of another SARS-CoV-2 variant that threatens global public health, and world leaders should continue pressing vaccination and prevention efforts, says World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. The Omicron variant appears to be more contagious but less lethal than previous variants of concern, leading to some optimism that the pandemic may burn itself out, but Tedros cautions that such thinking is dangerous.
Full Story: Reuters (1/25) 
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A coalition of 19 Senate Democrats wrote a letter to CMS and HHS leaders calling for Medicare to cover the cost of home COVID-19 tests for older people and those with disabilities, just as commercial health insurers are doing for their members. It's not clear which part of Medicare would cover the home tests, but the lawmakers argued that those "enrolled in Medicare are at the highest risk of severe illness from COVID-19. ... The current policy leaves them on the hook for potentially significant out-of-pocket costs."
Full Story: FierceHealthcare (1/24),  National Public Radio (1/24) 
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A trial of a Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine targeted to the Omicron variant of the coronavirus is enrolling adult participants in the US and South Africa. The trial will analyze whether the new version is effective and safe when used in a primary vaccine series or as a booster.
Full Story: The Wall Street Journal (1/25) 
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Black cancer patients have a mortality rate of 173.6 deaths per 100,000 people, compared to the national average of 152.4 per 100,000, National Cancer Institute statistics show. Patient advocates Kathy Giusti and John Carpten write that oncology clinical trials can be made more accessible and more reflective of the US population and that explicit diversity targets can be established for specific diseases.
Full Story: The Hill (1/24) 
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