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What We're Reading: A Baffling Case of Zika, Rising Premiums in California


Experts say Covered California is making up for coverage that was underpriced the last 2 years, and Maryland Medicaid officials create an uproar by changing the preferred opioid addiction treatment.

Health officials in Utah are baffled by a case of Zika virus that did not appear to have been transmitted by known routes: a mosquito bite or sexual contact. According to The New York Times, the patient was a family member and caregiver for an older man in Salt Lake County who contracted Zika while traveling abroad. The older man had other health problems and later died; the caregiver has recovered. CDC is assisting in the investigation.

Covered California will raise premiums 13.2% for 2017, a steep rise that reflects the fact that policies were underpriced. The largest state-level exchange had been praised for keeping increases to around 4% the past 2 years. But rising medical costs and the lapsing of federal programs to help insurers with pricy claims made the increase inevitable, according to California HealthLine.

Maryland Medicaid officials have sparked a debate over how to best treat opioid addiction. They removed Suboxone film from the state’s formulary after prison officials said too many strips were being smuggled in and resold on the black market. The trouble with Suboxone, prison officials say, is that it is itself an opioid, and the strips were chopped up into small pieces that were easy to hide. Medicaid replaced the film with tablets, but doctors say this formulation isn’t as effective.

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