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ACA markets prove profitable for Blue Cross Blue Shield plans
Blue Cross Blue Shield health plans experienced record profits through the ACA individual market in the first quarter, especially in states where a Blue Cross Blue Shield insurer was the only active provider. Being the sole provider for a region can have both advantages and disadvantages: Plans have exclusive access to the market, but also have to absorb more risk. The success belies the notion that the ACA market is unsustainable.
Commissioners look to keep insurers in ACA markets
Insurance commissioners are offering increased flexibility to encourage insurers to remain in the market while the ACA’s future remains uncertain. Commissioners are worried some markets may be left without any insurers selling plans on the exchange. Some states are looking to create their own reinsurance program, allowing insurers to file two premium requests or consider tax relief for insurers in rural areas.
Communities answer health care questions in many languages
Communities with large immigrant populations are holding meetings to answer questions about possible cuts to Medicaid if the ACA is repealed. One such meeting in California was translated in 10 languages and had an immigration attorney present to quell fears that participation in government programs could lead to deportation. Advocates say the meetings are important to bring information to a population that has been historically excluded from some government health programs.
Pfizer raises prices for 100 drugs
For the second time this year, Pfizer has announced a major price hike on prescription drugs it manufactures. The company is raising prices by an average of twenty percent for 91 different treatments. The move comes as Congress continues to debate how to address high drug prices.
Health apps focus on opportunities outside traditional health care system
Silicon Valley developers have gravitated toward creating apps for services and procedures that do not require insurance or fall outside of the jurisdiction of FDA regulation. Critics say that these new apps are inaccessible to low-income and chronically ill patients who need innovative health solutions and that health care companies need to educate investors on challenges.
Guidelines for improving cybersecurity focus on patient safety
The HHS Health Care Industry Cybersecurity Task Force released a final report on policies to boost cyber defenses for health care companies. The report treats security as a patient safety and care issue and outlines six imperatives to amend vulnerabilities in cybersecurity protection, such as streamlining leadership and improving information sharing.