What We're Reading: Government Blocks Some Seamless Conversions Efforts in Medicare

What we're reading, October 28, 2016: Medicare blocks some efforts to automatically move customers eligible for Medicare into Medicare Advantage; the first lung cancer vaccine developed in Cuba will be tested in the US; and American Red Cross and Teladoc partner for disaster relief.

CMS is barring efforts from some health insurance companies to automatically move consumers eligible for Medicare into Medicare Advantage. According to Kaiser Health News, there are 29 insurers that are currently allowed to do seamless conversion to switch a customer from a commercial plan when they become eligible for Medicare at age 65. The problem is the conversion is not clear for some seniors, who first learn they’ve been moved into a new plan when they receive an expensive out-of-network provider bill or learn they’ve been given a new primary care doctor.

A lung cancer vaccine developed in Cuba will be tested in the United States for the first time. The trial at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York, will enroll up to 90 patients and will take 3 years to complete, reported The Washington Post. The vaccine has already been approved in some other countries. The US trial will test the vaccine in combination with the immunotherapy Opdivo to see if pairing the 2 improves effectiveness.

A partnership between the American Red Cross and Teladoc will help deliver medical care to communities affected by natural disasters. The companies announced that the partnership will make Teladoc’s network of physicians available to people helped by Red Cross. The virtual services will make it possible for victims of natural disasters to access health services.