What we're reading, December 15, 2015: call centers overwhelmed by last-minute rush for health insurance enrollment; AstraZeneca exploring deal with Acerta Pharma; and despite near universal health insurance coverage in Massachusetts, patients have access issues.
Affordable Care Act call centers were overwhelmed by the large numbers of consumers trying to enroll in healthcare coverage that would be effective January 1, 2016, before the deadline at midnight on Tuesday, according to USA Today. There were so many calls that some people were asked to leave their names and contact information. If they called back after the deadline, they would still be able to have their coverage start on January 1, according to CMS.
AstraZeneca is looking to get in on the deal frenzy happening in healthcare. The United Kingdom drugmaker is considering a deal with Acerta Pharma, which would give AstraZeneca acalabrutinib, reported Bloomberg Business. The experimental drug is a rival of Imbruvica, and shows promise against an incurable form of leukemia, as well as auto-immune diseases. The 2 companies are still in talks, but the deal could cost more than $5 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Finally, a study has found that while Massachusetts has near universal health insurance coverage, access to care remains a struggle, according to MassLive.com. More than one-fifth of residents have trouble getting a timely appointment. More than one-third of respondents said they had visited the emergency department in the last year, and of those, 38% said it was for something that could have been treated by a non-emergency doctor. Close to 60% said they went to the emergency department because they couldn’t get an appointment with a doctor in a timely manner.