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Health Headlines for Friday, February 2

U.S. government proposes 1.84 percent hike in 2019 payments to Medicare insurers


The U.S. government on Thursday proposed an increase of 1.84 percent on average in its 2019 payments to the health insurers that manage Medicare Advantage insurance plans for more than 20 million elderly or disabled people.

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NY insurance enrollment, buoyed by Medicaid, hits 4.3 million

New York Upstate

Another 700,000 New Yorkers had signed up for coverage through the state’s health insurance exchange by the end of open enrollment Wednesday, bringing the total number of people enrolled through the exchange to 4.3 million.

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A Good Health Care Deal, but Only for Some

New York Times

Here’s the good news about the announcement this week that Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase are forming a new company to cover health care for their employees: If you’re one of the million-plus people who work at these companies, or a family member of one, you’re likely to get cheaper, better health care pretty soon.

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Medicare tightens oversight of opioid prescriptions

AP News

Medicare says it’s planning to tighten oversight of opioid drugs prescribed to millions of elderly and disabled beneficiaries.

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New York accuses Insys of deceptively marketing opioid


Insys Therapeutics Inc’s legal woes deepened on Thursday as New York’s attorney general filed a lawsuit seeking at least $75 million from the company, which he said deceptively promoted a fentanyl-based cancer pain medicine for unsafe uses.

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Syracuse hospital to pay dog adoption fees to promote better heart health

Syracuse Post Standard

Having a dog could be your heart’s best friend, according to a Syracuse hospital.

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Is disaster brewing in New York’s small-group market?

Employee Benefit Adviser

The United Hospital Fund recently issued a comprehensive study of patterns in the New York state small-group market and they don’t look good. From 2007 to 2016, enrollment shrank by 600,000 members — to 1.1 million. Rates were 35% higher than the national average. This, despite New York being one of the very few states to increase the size of their small-group risk pool from 50 employees to 100 in 2016.

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