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What We're Reading: Aetna Exits ACA in Iowa; $15B Fund for Health Bill; Cigna Cuts Opioid Use


Aetna Will Leave Iowa’s ACA Exchanges

This week, Aetna announced it will not offer plans on Iowa’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchange in 2018. According to The Washington Post, the company cited financial risk, as well as uncertainty surrounding the future of the marketplace, as reasons for its decision. The announcement follows a decision earlier in the week from Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield to also stop selling on the Iowa marketplace next year. As a result, the majority of the state’s counties will only have 1 insurer.

Cigna Reports Drop in Opioid Use

In the last 12 months, Cigna has cut prescription opioid use among customers by nearly 12%. The company has pledged to cut prescriptions of opioids by 25% by 2019, reported Reuters. Cigna is keeping physicians informed of opioid prescriptions in order to detect potential misuse by individuals and inform physicians of their own prescribing patterns. Another way Cigna has sought to combat the opioid epidemic is by removing a policy that required doctors to seek authorization in order to treat addicts.

A $15B Addition to GOP Health Bill

The Republican healthcare bill may not be completely dead. GOP leaders have been working with the House Freedom Caucus and the White House to try to revive the bill with changes, according to The New York Times. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) has negotiated the addition of a $15 billion fund to create a risk-sharing program to help insurers pay for their sickest customers and lower premiums. The proposal would prevent patients with high-cost diseases from being placed into a separate high-risk insurance pool.

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