What’s New in Health Care?

March 26, 2018

From new ventures to more mergers, plus flu outbreaks and the opioid epidemic, it’s been a busy time for the health care industry. To help you keep up with the latest trends and developments, here’s a look at some of the big news stories that have shaken health care in recent months.

  • California addresses workplace violence in health care facilities. Workplace violence is a serious issue for health care facilities. New California OSHA regulations require health facilities to establish workplace violence prevention plans. The first phase of regulations went into effect on April 1, 2017. The second phase of regulations takes effect on April 1, 2018. Learn more here.
  • Health insurer profitability rebounds. A new report from the White House Council of Economic Advisers has found that insurers have recovered from losses suffered after the Affordable Care Act went into effect, and that they are now seeing profits in the individual market, in part due to high premiums and federal subsidies. Healthcare Dive reports that the insurance lobby is pushing back against the report.
  • Power Trio Create New Health Care Venture. Amazon, JPMorgan and Berkshire made headlines when they announced that they would be joining forces in a new health care venture. The announcement sparked speculation surrounding the details and potential of the collaboration. USA Today provides a look at what it could mean for telemedicine, drug prices and more.
  • Politicians tackle the opioid crisis. According to the CDC, emergency department visits for opioid overdoses increased by 30 percent in the U.S. between July 2016 and September 2017. The Hill reports that President Trump is responding with plans that include the possibility of the death penalty for drug traffickers. CNN reports that House lawmakers are introducing more than two dozen new bills that address the opioid epidemic.
  • The flu takes its toll. This year’s flu season has been particularly bad. According to Modern Healthcare, there have been higher than average hospitalization rates connected to the flu this year. In addition to the strain on people’s wellbeing, this could also put a financial strain on health care providers.
  • Mergers rock the health care industry. The drugstore chain CVS has plans to buy Aetna, and Cigna has plans to buy Express Scripts. According to CNN, more vertical mergers like this – in which one company buys another to add a new line of business – may be on the horizon.

Count on Heffernan to be your health care insurance partner. We offer a full array of products and services including group and individual medical, group dental, group vision, life and disability plans, voluntary benefits, self-insurance plans, captive arrangements and more. Contact us if you’d like to explore your options.