Latest news and updates about the Medicare and pharmacy industries.

May 31: Measles Cases Near 1,000 Mark, Health Costs A Concern for Americans, and More

Posted on in by Amplicare Team

Here’s what you need to know this week:

1. As the number of reported measles cases nears 1,000, experts say it’s unclear how much longer the outbreak will last. U.S. health officials have reported 971 cases in 26 states so far, surpassing 1994’s total of 963. Vaccination rates have remained high and new diagnoses dropped by 113 between April and May, but the cases are still present in communities where parents have refused shots.
Read more from AP.

2. Healthcare costs are a top financial issue for American families, says a new Gallop poll. Released this week, survey results show that healthcare is the most significant issue for 17% of Americans, followed by lack of money or low wages (11%), college expenses (8%), and housing costs (8%). This comes as the health industry and the government have introduced new measures to curb high patient costs.
Read more from The Hill.

3. Lyft has taken notice of new CMS rules allowing health insurance companies to include more supplemental benefits in their Medicare Advantage (MA) plans. The ride-sharing company, which is already involved with several Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Cigna-Healthspring MA plans, is signing new contracts to have its services offered as part of the benefits for 2020. Health insurers say transportation services are critical for ensuring enrollees get access to care.
Read more from Forbes.

4. Also on the MA front, average plan premiums dropped by more than 30% in the first quarter of 2019, according to new eHealth data. The report also shows an 87% year-over-year increase in the number of MA and Medicare Part D applications received during the quarter’s special open enrollment period. During this period, the average out-of-pocket limits for MA plans decreased 11%.
Read more from HealthLeaders Media.

5. The country’s first major opioid trial kicked off this week. Johnson & Johnson is facing claims from the state of Oklahoma, which is looking to hold the company accountable for the ongoing opioid crisis. Two other pharma companies named in the suit previously settled with the state. As the first of about 2,000 similar lawsuits to go to trial, this case could set a precedent for cases to come.
Read more from the Wall Street Journal.

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