What We're Reading: Insurers' Profits; Health Effects of Workplace Harassment; Self-Treating Opioid Withdrawal

Insurers in the individual market have shown improved financial results for the first 6 months of 2018 to levels not seen since before the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA); women can experience lingering health problems years after workplace sexual harassment or sexual assault; people addicted to opioids are trying to self-treat withdrawal by using buprenorphine, 1 of 3 federally approved medications to treat opioid use disorder.

Insurers Show Profitability Levels Not Seen Since Before the ACA, Report Finds

Insurers in the individual market have shown improved financial results for the first 6 months of 2018 to levels not seen since before the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), The Hill reported. Insurers are returning to profitability levels seen before the ACA, but the brief from the Kaiser Family Foundation said recent actions from the Trump administration "cloud expectations for the future." Insurers may have overpriced their 2018 premiums more than necessary due to the uncertainty about what Congress and the administration would do to the ACA and the administration’s cancelation of key insurer payments, leading to larger profits, the brief said.

Workplace Harrassment, Sexual Assault Can Lead to Health Problems Later

Women can experience lingering health problems years after workplace sexual harassment or sexual assault, The Washington Post reported. Researchers performed medical exams of about 300 women and found that the health problems can include high blood pressure, poor quality sleep, anxiety, and symptoms of depression. According to the results, 19% of the women had experienced workplace sexual harassment and 22% reported that they had experienced sexual assault. Ten percent reported that they had experienced both sexual harassment and assault.

People Addicted to Opioids Trying to Self-Treat Withdrawal Symptoms Due to Treatment Gaps, Experts Say

People addicted to opioids are trying to self-treat withdrawal by using buprenorphine (a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone, sold under the name Suboxone), 1 of 3 federally approved medications to treat opioid use disorder, NPR reported. It’s an opioid as well, so some people misuse it, and some patients who have prescriptions for buprenorphine sometimes sell or give it away, which is known as diversion. Addiction treatment professionals argue that the problem of buprenorphine diversion is often misunderstood. A black market exists in part, they point out, because addiction treatment can be hard to find.