November 3, 2017
New rule would allow states to define essential health benefits
The Trump administration has proposed a new federal rule that would give states the authority to define essential health benefits, along with a number of other changes to the regulations governing individual and small group plans. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed the new rule last week.
As mandated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the individual and small group markets will still have to cover 10 basic benefits including preventive care and prescription drugs, but once the proposed rule takes effect, states could borrow another state’s plan—in whole or in part—or create a new one altogether. CMS acknowledges the proposed changes may result in those with specific health needs losing coverage for certain services.
While states are not required to make any changes under the new policy, it does give some leverage to states that have sought more autonomy in the debate over the ACA. CMS also says it intends to review additional proposals that would help cut prescription drug costs and pricing transparency.
Federal judge paves the way for the end of insurance subsidies
A federal judge in San Francisco refused to require the Trump administration to restore cost-sharing subsidies offered to insurers under the Affordable Care Act. The payments help to lower the cost of insurance for low income Americans.
Judge Vince Chhabria denied the request last week from 19 state attorneys general that would have kept the administration from ending the cost-sharing subsidies offered to insurers, saying the president’s action is likely to be lawful and will cause little immediate harm.
President Trump announced his intent to end the payments earlier this month. Now, insurers will no longer be able to count on the additional funds to ensure coverage for low-income individuals, which they are still required to do by law. Many experts have warned such a move has the potential to create premium increases as insurers look for ways to recoup their losses; however, it is unclear what rates will look like moving into 2018.
Mark your calendars! Learn about the link between HPV and cancer—and get a chance to talk to actress and cervical cancer survivor Marissa Jaret Winokur
The human papillomavirus (HPV) can cause at least six different types of cancer, and is the cause of almost all cervical and anal cancers. Despite the HPV vaccine being proven safe and effective, vaccination rates for young children, teens and young adults in the United States remain startlingly low. To learn what you can do for your family, join us for a webinar with the Think About the Link® program on Wednesday, November 15, at 2:30 p.m. ET to discuss issues surrounding the HPV vaccine.
This interactive webinar will feature actress and Broadway star Marissa Jaret Winokur, who will share her story of being diagnosed with cervical cancer at age 27 and why she is now a passionate advocate for getting kids vaccinated. In addition, Stan Block, M.D. of the Institution of Kentucky’s Pediatric and Adolescent Research and Krystal Lang Kuhs, Ph.D., M.P.H. of Vanderbilt University Medical Center will examine the impact of HPV-related cancers on vulnerable populations, debunk myths and misinformation about the HPV vaccine and share opportunities to improve HPV vaccine advocacy in communities.
Don’t just pass the pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving—pass along your family history
Know the history of cancer on both sides of your family. Genetic mutations can be passed down from your mom or dad’s side of the family.November is National Family Health History Month. When your family gathers for Thanksgiving, take the time to ask and share some important information.
Many of us think we know our family’s health history, but asking your relatives may reveal surprising information. Knowing your personal and family history of cancer is an important step in determining if you might be at increased risk for cancer. Sharing the information with your health care professionals will help them determine which cancer screenings are right for you. When gathering your family’s history of cancer, remember the following:
- Know at least three generations of your family history. Consider first-, second- and third-degree relatives.
- Get specifics, including type of cancer and age of diagnosis.
This November, take the time to ask about your family’s history of cancer, then take our hereditary cancer quiz to find out if hereditary cancer testing might be right for you. Join the conversation via social media using the hashtag #familyhistory and share why you support having conversations about your family health history with your loved ones.