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What We're Reading: Insurer Troubles Mean ACA Coverage Could Shrink in 2017


What we're reading, October 17, 2016: more than 1 million Americans will lose their current Obamacare plan; physicians grow increasingly frustrated over insurance trends; and how overactive bladder disorder could benefit from less drug treatments.

More than 1 million Americans will lose the Affordable Care Act plan they currently have as health insurers drop off the exchanges. According to Bloomberg, these people will have to find new coverage on a market that has fewer options and rising prices. In 2017, Obamacare may actually shrink instead of growing. While 11.1 million people were covered by the law at the end of March, estimates place enrollment ranging from an 8% decline to a 4% gain.

Physicians are growing increasingly frustrated over trends in health insurance coverage. High-deductible health plans and narrow networks are placing an increased burden on doctors’ offices to check network eligibility and chase down overdue bills, reported Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Physicians are increasingly unhappy with interference from insurers and how it can impact patient care. This means more than half of physicians are now open to switching to direct pay models that go around insurance, a survey found.

The market for overactive bladder disorder was born in 2001 and sales of treatments reached nearly $3 billion in 2015. However, some experts say the condition is best managed without drugs, according to MedPage Today. The drugs that treat overactive bladder have resulted in nearly 200 deaths and more than 700 hospitalizations and more than 12,000 adverse event reports since 2013. While the drugs work better than placebo, they are no more effective than behavioral changes, such as weight loss, pelvic muscle exercises, and fluid management.

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