What We're Reading: County at Risk of Having No ACA Plans in 2017 Gets an Insurer

What we're reading, September 8, 2016: An Arizona county at risk of having no Affordable Care Act plans in 2017 gains an insurer; the difficulty of obtaining medical records; and Ohio county offers immunity for anyone turning in deadly drugs.

A county in Arizona that had been at risk of having no insurers selling plans on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchange will no longer have to worry. The Wall Street Journal reported, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona has stepped up to the plate and will offer plans on the ACA exchange in 2017 in Pinal County. The county was at risk of having no ACA plans when Aetna announced in August that it was withdrawing from the exchange in Arizona. Approximately 10,000 had signed up for ACA plans in Pinal County.

Despite investment to digitize medical records, most medical histories still exist on paper, scattered among various providers. The notion that a person’s medical records is a single, easy-to-access file is fiction, according to The New York Times’ blog The Upshot. Not only can getting records be difficult, but few patients can understand the pages of lab readings, billing codes, and handwritten notes.

In Ohio, one county judge is offering immunity for anyone who turns in deadly drugs. The ruling came in response to a surge in overdoses in the area—nearly 300 overdoses have been reported in the Cincinnati area since August 19, according to the Associated Press. The offer of immunity is so who find potentially deadly drugs, such as heroin, can turn them into a law enforcement agency without fear or prosecution. Authorities say there has been a recent increase in street sales of heroin that has been mixed with carfentanil, a powerful animal tranquilizer.