News Briefs

News Briefs

CMS for the first time on Oct. 12 approved a state’s request to provide gender-affirming care as an essential health benefit (EHB) in the individual and small-group health insurance markets. Colorado’s new EHB-benchmark plan will offer transgender individuals access to a wider range of services than what is currently covered by their health plans, such as eye and lid modifications, face tightening, facial bone remodeling for facial feminization, breast/chest construction and reductions, and laser hair removal. Effective Jan. 1, 2023, Colorado is also adding EHBs in its benchmark plan to include mental wellness exams and expanded coverage for 14 prescription drug classes.

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News Briefs

✦ A pharmacy trade group made a formal request to the Dept. of Justice, asking that the government block UnitedHealth Group’s proposed acquisition of Change Healthcare Inc. “This deal would give UHG a trove of intelligence on its smaller competitors, including thousands of independent pharmacies and their patients.

News Briefs

✦ CMS issued guidance stipulating employer-sponsored health plans can’t deny benefits to customers who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine. However, self-funded plans can offer premium discounts to customers ...
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News Briefs

✦ The fate of expanded Medicare benefits, drug pricing provisions and other health care measures included in Senate Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package hung in the balance this week, as Pres...

News Briefs

✦ Centene Corp. settled two more of its PBM-related cases, reaching settlements with Illinois and Arkansas’ attorneys general to pay the states more than $71 million combined. Centene has been sued by dozens of ...
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News Briefs

✦ Cigna Corp. on Sept. 23 unveiled several shifts in its top executives’ roles. Eric Palmer will become the president and CEO of the company’s Evernorth health services division, and Paul Sanford will occupy t...
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News Briefs

✦ Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. will spend $970 million to acquire a 71% stake in Shields Health Solutions, a specialty pharmacy company. Shields contracts with health systems and hospitals to build and operate on...

News Briefs

✦ Three centrist Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce committee on Sept. 15 voted down language in a bill that would have enabled Medicare to negotiate drug prices. Reps. Scott Peters (Calif.), Kathleen Rice...
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News Briefs

✦ CMS will bar several Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug (MA-PD) plans from enrolling new beneficiaries for 2022 because they did not meet minimum medical loss ratio (MLR) requirements. According to a series ...

News Briefs

✦ The Biden administration will send $452 million in ARPA funding “to support 13 states’ efforts to improve access to affordable, comprehensive health insurance coverage through section 1332 state-based reinsu...
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