February

What Can Insurers Expect From Brooks-LaSure at Helm of CMS?

February 26, 2021

If Chiquita Brooks-LaSure is confirmed as the next CMS administrator, the managed care industry can expect to see a thoughtful and experienced leader helming an agency that wields vast regulatory power over some of insurers’ most lucrative business lines, industry experts say. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that every move taken by Brooks-LaSure, HHS secretary nominee Xavier Becerra or the Biden administration at large will be completely industry-friendly.

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Pandemic Illuminates Need for Mental Health Care Reforms

February 26, 2021

With unmeasurable stress and trauma caused by the pandemic, the U.S.’s longstanding shortage of behavioral health care has become an acute crisis — making improvements to the way treatment is paid for a more urgent issue than ever. Fortunately, new trends in provider ratings, network design and reimbursement could help the health insurance industry improve access and affordability for behavioral health care to members.

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Email, Texts Can Be Highly Effective at Engaging Members

February 26, 2021

Health care organizations, eager for innovative ways to engage members in the midst of the pandemic, ramped up their use of email and texts in 2020, and found they were highly effective in prompting consumer action, a recent survey on health care consumer engagement found.

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One-Third of U.S. Adults Delayed or Skipped Health Care During Pandemic

February 26, 2021

by Jinghong Chen
More than one in three nonelderly adults reported delaying or forgoing at least one type of health care service because of concerns about being exposed to the coronavirus or because a provider limited services during the pandemic, according to a new Urban Institute study. Rates of delayed or forgone care were particularly high among adults with mental health conditions. Dental care was the most common type of health care adults chose to postpone or skip. The study also suggested that almost 33% of the adults who delayed or went without care reported a negative effect on their health, ability to work, or ability to perform other daily activities.

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Flex Benefits in ’21 Show COVID Influence, Insurer Comfort

February 26, 2021

Last year, Medicare Advantage plans for the first time were able to extend a variety of non-primarily health-related items and services to their chronically ill beneficiaries, but insurer adoption of these benefits was relatively small. In 2021, the availability of such benefits has more than tripled, suggesting carriers are becoming more comfortable with a variety of new supplemental benefits and the idea of incorporating cost offsets into their bids.

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News Briefs

February 26, 2021

✦ Cigna Corp.’s Evernorth division has reached a deal to acquire the telehealth platform MDLIVE, the companies said on Feb. 26. Cigna is already an MDLIVE customer and investor, and noted in a press release that the telehealth firm “has a sizable and forward-thinking client base, a class-leading provider network, brand recognition among customers and consumers, and experience in medical and behavioral health.” In a note to investors about the deal, Evercore ISI analysts wrote that “although we don’t view MDLIVE as particularly differentiated vs. other telehealth providers, it gives [Cigna] a platform to better integrate telehealth medical and behavioral visits into its healthcare offering to help control costs and improve patient experience, and expands the service offerings Evernorth can cross-sell into other health plans.” The analysts also noted that previously MDLIVE was considering going public, and its latest funding round valued it above $1 billion. No financial terms were disclosed for the deal, which is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals, and is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2021. Read more at https://prn.to/3qZ9eOr.

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