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What We're Reading: Cigna Seeks Benefits Insurance Business Sale; No Flu Shots for Migrants; Opioid Crisis Warning

AJMC Staff
Cigna is seeking to sell its group benefits insurance business, which could be valued at $6 billion; migrants in US border detention centers will not receive the flu vaccine; 2 federal scientists tried to warn health officials and the public about the opioid crisis in 2006.

Cigna Mulls Sale of Group Benefits Insurance Business

Cigna is looking to sell its group benefits insurance business, which offers disability insurance as well as life and accidental death and dismemberment coverage. According to Reuters, the business could be worth as much as $6 billion. If the insurer goes ahead with the sale, it will underscore its decision to focus on healthcare following its acquisition of Express Scripts last year. A Cigna spokesman declined to comment on the report but said, “Given the dynamic workplace, we continually review opportunities to ensure we continue to deliver value to our customers and clients.”

 

Migrants in Detention Centers Won’t Receive Flu Vaccine

Ahead of the upcoming flu season, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said the agency will not give the flu vaccine to migrants in custody and has no plans to do so. Earlier this month, 2 House Democrats wrote to CBP and to HHS voicing concerns over the spread of the flu in detention centers after at least 3 children died in custody, in part due to the flu, reported The Hill. A spokeswoman for CBP told The Hill that, “In general, due to the short term nature of CBP holding and the complexities of operating vaccination programs, neither CBP nor its medical contractors administer vaccinations to those in our custody.”



Scientists Tried to Warn of Opioid Crisis in 2006

Thirteen years ago, 2 federal scientists saw the first signs of the emerging opioid epidemic and tried to warn health officials and the public, according to confidential documents obtained by Politico. According to the documents, the directors from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institutes of Health warned of “disturbing” data showing a steep increase in opioid addiction and called for urgent action. While then-US Surgeon General Richard Carmona was on the verge of alerting the public about the crisis, the effort did not lead to any action, and since then, over 133,000 people have died from prescription opioids.

 
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