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health care

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Two more health insurers have put their case to regulators for substantial rate hikes for next year. After Anthem’s public hearing before the Connecticut Insurance Department Wednesday, it was the turn of Connecticare and Aetna Thursday. 

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Health insurers Aetna and Anthem are both bargaining with federal courts about the upcoming anti-trust trial over their merger plans.

Alex Prolmos / Flickr Creative Commons

 

The U.S. Justice Department recently filed two lawsuits to block mega-mergers that would reduce the number of the nation’s largest health insurance companies from five to three.

The larger of the two multi-billion dollar mergers is a takeover of Connecticut-based Cigna by Indiana-based Anthem.

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Connecticut-based health insurer Aetna is calling off its public insurance exchange expansion plans for next year as it becomes the latest big insurer to cast doubt on the future of a key element of the Affordable Care Act.

Many More People Seek Medical Help For Opioid Abuse

Aug 1, 2016

Health care claims for people with opioid dependence diagnoses rose more than 3,000 percent between 2007 and 2014, according to an analysis of insurance records.

The findings illustrate that the opioid problem is "in the general mainstream," says Robin Gelburd, president of Fair Health, a nonprofit that analyzes health care costs and conducted the study.

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Connecticut's Department of Insurance is holding public hearings this week on double-digit rate increases requested by the state's health insurers for the 2017 coverage year.

The increases would affect more than 100,000 residents insured by three companies.

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A growing number of adults -- about 52 million -- suffer from arthritis, and data show women are more likely than men to develop it.

In 2014, 26.5 percent of women reported having doctor-diagnosed arthritis, compared with 20.5 percent of men, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention behavioral risk survey.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Activists and mental health experts gathered in Hartford this week to talk about the need for more equitable access to health care services. But sometimes, health care isn't on the top of people's minds.

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Single-family home sales in Connecticut rose a bit over four percent in June, according to the latest report from The Warren Group, a banking and real estate trade publisher.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Self-identified gay men in Connecticut make up a growing percentage of new HIV infection cases, an alarming trend over the last decade that's forcing AIDS activists to get creative. 

The Justice Department is suing to block two proposed mergers between major health insurance companies, saying the deals violate antitrust laws and would lead to higher health care costs for Americans.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch explained the decision at a press conference:

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Sepsis is always an emergency. But I bet many of you reading this don't know what it is. 

The CDC says there are over one million cases of sepsis in America annually -- many more globally -- and about 258,000 of those people die from it. It's the ninth leading cause of disease-related deaths and more people are hospitalized for sepsis every year than for heart disease and stroke combined. It's a major driver behind higher health costs.

Harriet Jones

The Connecticut Low Wage Employer Advisory Board is holding its third hearing on Wednesday in Bridgeport. 

Karen Brown / NEPR

The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates up to 30 percent of former service members — from the Vietnam War to Iraq and Afghanistan — have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. 

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Insurance brokers are concerned that they may no longer get commissions for business they sell on the state’s healthcare exchange, Access Health CT.

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Last fall, Colin saw The Bloodstained Men and Their Friends demonstrating in New Haven.

They wear white coveralls with red stains on the crotches.

The Senate on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a bill intended to change the way police and health care workers treat people struggling with opioid addictions.

The bill, which had previously passed the House, will now be sent to President Obama. He has indicated that he will sign it, despite concerns that it doesn't provide enough funding.

Susi (daveandsusi) / flickr creative commons

We once did a show about beer jingles, which is a great example of how a product becomes a culture. Cereal as a culture, is off the charts. There's the box, there's the prize, there's the character, there's the jingles, there's the commercials. Most of us can probably sing some jingles and discuss favorite cereal personae from our childhoods, which makes it kind of weird when marketing experts tell us that cereal consumption is in decline.

President Obama on Monday called on Congress to revisit the controversial idea of providing a government-run insurance plan as part of the offerings under the Affordable Care Act.

What's been described as the "public option" was jettisoned from the health law in 2009 by a handful of conservative Democrats in the Senate. Every Democrat's vote was needed to pass the bill in the face of unanimous Republican opposition.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

In hospitals across Connecticut and nationwide, workarounds to compensate for medication shortages are daily routines for treating patients -- and health experts say it’s not about to change any time soon.

Some acute-care drugs in short supply nationally are antibiotics, antipsychotics, intravenous saline, and morphineaccording to the most recent shortage list from the U.S Food and Drug Administration.

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Connecticut’s Insurance Commissioner Katharine Wade said the 40,000 customers of HealthyCT shouldn’t panic about news that the health insurer looks likely to go out of business. Wade said her department will make sure that consumers experience a smooth transition.

The Obama administration is making it easier for people addicted to opioids to get treatment.

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced new rules Wednesday to loosen restrictions on doctors who treat people addicted to heroin and opioid painkillers with the medication buprenorphine.

Betty Wants In / flickr creative commons

Since its discovery in 1900, adrenaline and pop-culture have gone hand-in-hand. From extreme sports, to the latest energy drinks, to pulse pounding Hollywood blockbusters, the rush of this hormone is portrayed in countless ways.

But these portrayals seldom tell the whole story. So what exactly is adrenaline, and why does our society seem so keen on celebrating it?

State Prepares to Tighten Prescription Monitoring

Jun 28, 2016
Michael Chen / Creative Commons

Connecticut’s shift next month from weekly to “real-time” reporting of prescriptions for opioids and other controlled substances is an effective way to help stem opioid-related deaths, a new study suggests.

Office of Gov. Dannel Malloy

Controversy is growing around state Insurance Commissioner Katharine Wade. She's in charge of reviewing a $54 billion health insurance merger between Anthem and Cigna, but she's also a former employee of one of the companies in question. Should she recuse herself from the case? And what has been the role in all this of Governor Dannel Malloy, who appointed Wade last year? This hour, we take a closer look with a panel of local and national reporters. 

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