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What We're Reading: Panel Recommends Expanding Preventive Services for Women


What we're reading, September 27, 2016: a panel of experts recommends expanding preventive services for women with no cost sharing; BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee is exiting 3 Obamacare exchanges; and Pfizer will not split into 2 companies.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) has proposed expanding the list of preventive services available for women with no cost sharing. According to Kaiser Health News, the panel considered breast cancer screening, follow-up testing or procedures, and even male methods of birth control. The group drafted the original list of preventive services that most health plans are required to cover that took effect in 2012.

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee (BCBST) will exit the Affordable Care Act (ACA) insurance exchanges in Nashville, Memphis, and Knoxville. BCBST is the state’s largest insurer and is projecting losses on the ACA exchanges of close to $500 million by the end of this year, according to The Tennessean. There are 95 total counties in Tennessee, and 73 of them will only have 1 insurer offering plans after BCBST exits.

Pfizer has decided it would not split into 2 companies: 1 focused on patent-protected drugs and the other on older products. The company spent at least $600 million preparing for the potential split, but ultimately decided that staying whole was the best strategy, reported The Wall Street Journal. The new drug business with patent-protected medicines brought in $26.8 billion in sales in 2015, while the older-drugs business had $22.1 billion in sales.

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