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Visit One News Page for Health Insurance news from around the world, aggregated from leading sources including newswires, newspapers and broadcast media. Search millions of archived news headlines. This feed provides the Health Insurance news headlines.
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    CLEVELAND (AP) — The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority which was facing questions from its auditors over $1.8 million in prescription payments now says it was the victim of a national health insurance scam. The RTA says an investigation found the scam started in January 2014 and continued through March 2016. The agency says the […] Reported by Seattle Times 10 hours ago.

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    Seasonal allergies in dogs and cats cause itchy skin, irritability, hair loss, and more.

    CLEVELAND (PRWEB) March 20, 2018

    With spring right around the corner, allergy season isn’t too far behind. While we may be enjoying the blooming flowers and the nice weather, our pets might be uncomfortable. Embrace Pet Insurance recommends paying close attention to any changes in your pet’s behavior or physical appearance this spring. If you do notice any unusual symptoms, take them to their primary veterinarian right away to discuss a recommended course of treatment.

    What causes seasonal allergies in pets?
    Seasonal allergies in dogs and cats occur when proteins in the environment gather in quantities large enough to elicit an allergic response in a pet’s skin. These proteins (called “allergens”) include pollen produced by grasses, trees, weeds, mold spores, house dust mites, insects, animal dander, human skin, natural fibers, and other sources depending on the time of year and where the pet lives. Instead of affecting the respiratory system as most allergies do in humans, extreme itchiness can result, known as atopy. Certain dog breeds are also more susceptible than others to inherit allergies including Shar-Peis, Golden Retrievers, Boxers, and Labrador Retrievers.

    Common symptoms of seasonal allergies in pets include:· Itching, redness, pustules, wheals (hives), and crusts on the skin
    · Secondary skin infections that can be moist and odorous
    · Irritability in the Face, legs, feet, belly, ears, and rear
    · Infected ears, especially in dogs
    · Excessive licking in a symmetrical pattern (on the back, belly, and behind the legs is most common) or tiny crusts around the neck or tail base in cats
    · Hair loss, also known as alopecia, or “hot spots” due to prolonged scratching

    According to Dr. Patty Khuly, “Once these symptoms appear, the goal is to determine whether any other skin diseases are amiss. Hormone-related skin issues and other allergies to foods or insects can look like seasonal allergies. Differentiating one from the other is important, and typically accomplished through feeding trials, courses of highly-effective flea medications, and blood testing.”

    Dr. Khuly shared that if a pet is suffering from seasonal allergies, there is a three-step process for treatment:

    1.    Treat the secondary infections
    2.    Treat the itching
    3.    Prevent the allergic reaction

    Getting rid of secondary infections with antibiotics, antifungal medications, and all manners of topical treatment is step one. Oral and injectable medications can then help keep itching at bay. Once this has been done, blood or skin tests can be conducted to determine what the pet is reacting to.

    Unfortunately, diagnosing seasonal allergies takes time, which can quickly result in a heap of veterinary bills. Luckily, Embrace Pet Insurance covers allergy treatments, including immunotherapy, which some pet parents choose as the best course of treatment, including Theo the Labrador Retriever’s pet parents.

    About Embrace Pet Insurance
    Embrace Pet Insurance is an Ohio-based pet health insurance provider, offering comprehensive, personalized insurance products for dogs and cats across the United States. Embrace is consistently ranked as one of the highest-rated U.S. pet insurance companies, and is a proud member of the North American Pet Health Insurance Association. Embrace is the only company to offer a diminishing deductible feature, the Healthy Pet Deductible, and continues to innovate and improve the pet insurance experience for pet parents across the country. For more information about Embrace Pet Insurance, visit or call (800) 511-9172. Reported by PRWeb 8 hours ago.

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    ACCC explains what every consumer needs to know to determine realistic living expenses

    BOSTON (PRWEB) March 20, 2018

    Do you ever wonder how much you can afford to spend on everyday living expenses, such as transportation, clothes, and food? Where consumers live, their family circumstances, income, and debt all have a direct impact on the amount they have to spend. National nonprofit American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) explains the different expenses consumers need to consider when calculating a realistic lifestyle.

    “There are a variety of factors that consumers should take into account when calculating their living expenses, many of which can vary greatly depending on where you live,” said Steve Trumble, President, and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling. “It is important to be aware of all your monthly expenses to ensure you are living within your means. Knowing how much living expenses typically cost you each month is crucial to build a proper budget.”

    The cost of living is directly related to where consumers live. According to GoBankingRates, the three cities that saw the biggest increase in non-housing living costs – utilities, transportation, healthcare, and groceries – are Eugene, OR, with a 22 percent increase, St. Paul, MN, with a nearly 16 percent increase, and Nashville, TN, with a 15 percent increase. Other cities on the rise include Atlanta, Denver, and Seattle.

    ACCC discusses expenses consumers need to consider when calculating a realistic lifestyle.

    1. Income – Be aware of how much money you are taking home after tax deductions – such as Social Security, Medicare, and state and federal taxes – to know what paycheck income you’re actually working with. Don’t forget to include the cost of benefits, such as dental insurance, health insurance, and retirement contributions. Divide this number by 12 to find your monthly income.
    2. Expenses – Now that you know your monthly income, you can figure out how much you have to spend on living expenses. Ideally, housing should account for 30 percent, transportation 10 percent, food 15 percent, debt 10 percent, savings 10 percent, and utilities 10 percent.
    3. Debt – The majority of college students graduate with some amount of student loan debt. Student debt comes with monthly repayments, so it is important to include this in your monthly expenses. Do not forget about any credit card debt you may have as well.
    4. Utilities – Utilities, such as gas and electric, tend to vary in cost based on where you live. If you are a renter, keep in mind the cost of renters insurance, which typically costs around $200 per year. To lessen these costs, consider living with a roommate or finding an apartment where utilities are included in the rent.
    5. Cable and Internet – Most cable providers offer high-speed Internet with their packages. Do research and look at all the package options to ensure you are getting the most bang for your buck. Although you may be tempted by the upscale packages that offer premium channels, be realistic about what you can afford. On average, Internet and cable packages can cost anywhere from $130 to $160 per month.
    6. Transportation – Transportation costs can add up quickly, especially if you own or lease a car. Gas prices tend to fluctuate, and parking in the city is never cheap. In 2017, according to NerdWallet, the cost of a car driven 15,000 miles per year cost consumers about $8,469. Depending on where you live, you may not need a car and can rely on public transportation. Be sure to factor in the cost of public transit as well. If that’s not an option, consider carpooling or cut costs in other categories, such as food and clothes, to make transportation more affordable.

    ACCC is a 501(c)3 organization that provides free credit counseling, bankruptcy counseling, and housing counseling to consumers nationwide in need of financial literacy education and money management. For more information, contact ACCC:· For credit counseling, call 800-769-3571
    · For bankruptcy counseling, call 866-826-6924
    · For housing counseling, call 866-826-7180
    · Or visit us online at

    About American Consumer Credit Counseling
    American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a nonprofit credit counseling 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering consumers to achieve financial management through credit counseling, debt management, bankruptcy counseling, housing counseling, student loan counseling and financial education concerning debt solutions. In order to help consumers reach their goal of debt relief, ACCC provides a range of free consumer personal finance resources on a variety of topics including budgeting, credit and debt management, student loan assistance, youth and money, homeownership, identity theft, senior living and retirement. Consumers can use ACCC’s worksheets, videos, calculators, and blog articles to make the best possible decisions regarding their financial future. ACCC holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®). For more information or to access free financial education resources, log on to or visit Reported by PRWeb 5 hours ago.

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    "Wake Up, America!" presents startling facts about the health of Americans – from youth to the elderly – and the resulting economic and social costs being borne by families and society. Learn what can be done to prevent this alarming epidemic of declining quality of life.

    UPLAND, Calif. (PRWEB) March 20, 2018

    America has a health crisis brewing. Statistics from the United States Center for Disease Control (CDC) show the worsening health of all Americans, but especially for seniors. As a group, seniors increasingly suffer from chronic diseases that can be prevented. Yet despite the fact that an exercise program emphasizing muscle strengthening can improve overall health and fitness, 78% of Americans fail to meet the CDC guidelines for muscle strengthening.

    Without changes, Americans will continue on the current path of worsening health and increasing social and economic costs of dealing with it. But this doesn't have to continue. By working together to provide education, change policy, and adopt muscle-strengthening, nutrition and health and fitness goals nationwide at all age levels, we can prevent the crisis from developing.

    Here are specific steps to help reverse the current trend:· Policy changes that provide incentives to maintain good health and fitness such as a tax credit or reduced health insurance premiums for qualifying exercise programs.
    · Adopt the corporate wellness model of investing in a program of education, coaching and performance incentives. Providing awards for meeting a health goal or completing an exercise program or engaging in best practices like food journaling are examples of these practices.
    · Introduce instruction on proper health and fitness in schools at all grade levels. We can build a nation of healthy and fit people by teaching children the importance of physical activity and the basics of sound nutrition. Teaching youth the value of regular exercise is critical and of equal importance to the basic skills of reading, writing and arithmetic. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as reported in its Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans Midcourse Report, levels of physical activity among youth remain low, and decline dramatically during adolescence. Opportunities for regular physical activity are limited in many schools; daily PE is provided in only 4% of elementary schools, 8% of middle schools and 2% of high schools.
    · Change the way physical activity is promoted. If physical activity becomes more appealing, people will be more receptive to engaging in it.

    Americans are spending more on health and fitness today than ever before, yet are in the worst health ever – and predicted to get even worse. As a nation, Americans are prone to health and fitness hype, not results. Messages from the health and fitness industry hurt, not help, this problem.

    Three things provide the foundation to develop health and fitness: a proper muscle-strengthening program; a diet based on whole natural foods; and adequate rest. People who focus on these three things make fast health and fitness improvements. And as health and fitness improve, energy and movement efficiency increases. In turn, this provides the ability and desire to be more active in outdoor activities like walking, hiking, gardening, biking, kayaking and the like, which meet the CDC guidelines for aerobic activity.

    By working to change the perception of exercise from optional to required; making changes in public policy to provide incentives for improving health and fitness; and emphasizing muscle-strengthening, nutrition and rest as the basis for health and fitness, the looming health crisis can be averted.

    To help spread this message, contact Lance McCullough for both discussion and interviews. Lance is a world champion power lifter and certified personal trainer. Health and fitness is his life's passion. He has conducted over 100,000 personal training sessions with clients of different ages, goals, physical condition and fitness levels. He developed a safe and effective workout program built on muscle-strengthening exercises. The program delivers results for youth, seniors, amateur and professional athletes and fitness competitors.

    1842 West 11th Street #G
    Upland CA.91784 Reported by PRWeb 2 hours ago.

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    Selling across state lines without controls for Louisiana policy holders is a "dangerous thing indeed," Donelon said. Reported by 26 minutes ago.

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    Reassured For Life has access to group benefits for small companies in Alberta.

    EDMONTON, Alberta (PRWEB) March 20, 2018

    Alberta life insurance company, Reassured For Life (, can help companies that are solo-run or have as few as 3 employees, get health insurance.

    “Most small business owners want health, dental and life insurance, but worry that their company is too small for group rates. It’s best to talk to a broker to see what’s possible – because there are options,” says Nerissa McNaughton, owner of the Reassured For Life brokerage firm. “Alberta small businesses with as few as three employees may qualify for a pooled plan, where their business is counted in with other small businesses. This helps provide lower rates and renewals.”

    McNaughton also points out that HSAs, or Health Spending Accounts, are also an option.

    “An HSA is a tax advantaged account that allows you to put money aside to use on certain health care costs. Popular with solo entrepreneurs, an HSA helps manage health costs, and therefore, cash flow, during those lean startup years.”

    Small businesses in Alberta are invited to contact McNaughton to discuss their health, dental and life insurance needs.

    To learn more, visit and Check out how much can be saved on a term life insurance policy with the instant quote tool at, and be sure to like Reassured for Life on Facebook (@reassuredforlife).

    About Reassured For Life

    Not knowing where the money is going to come from when you become disabled, develop a critical illness, have an accident while travelling or if the breadwinner or home maker passes away is a nagging stress in the back of the mind that you just don’t need. Having a small business that is vulnerable to the loss of a key person is also stressful. Not having an affordable health benefit plan for the employees of your small business creates unnecessary turnover. All of these problems – and more – are eased with the reassurance of life, health, accident, sickness and small business insurance. Contact me today for free advice and a consultation. We’ll chat, and you’ll get honest, practical advice and no-obligation quotes.

    Contact Details:

    Nerissa McNaughton
    Edmonton, AB

    Phone: 780-918-0848


    Source: Reassured For Life Reported by PRWeb 57 minutes ago.

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    House and Senate leaders said Tuesday they will try to quickly pass a bill filed by Gov. Charlie Baker, perhaps as soon as this week, in an effort to avoid steep health insurance premium spikes for nearly 1,000 retired teachers and elderly government retirees. Reported by bizjournals 20 hours ago.

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    The course of retirement never did run smooth, which is why there are options allowed within IRS rules for “hardship distributions.” In a recent blog post at American IRA, CEO Jim Hitt explained how to take these hardship distributions from Self-Directed IRAs.

    Asheville, NC (PRWEB) March 21, 2018

    Life sometimes gets in the way of retirement. That is the idea behind “hardship distributions,” which allow those with retirement savings to take out some of their retirement to help cover the costs of emergency circumstances in their personal life. But these hardship distributions can be confusing, especially for those with a Self-Directed IRA. That is why Jim Hitt, CEO of American IRA, recently wrote a how-to guide for understanding hardship distributions when self-directing.

    “The rules for Self-Directed IRA hardship distributions are the same as those for conventional Traditional IRAs,” writes Jim Hitt. He then went into detail as to the specific circumstances in which these distributions could be taken with minimal financial impact, including: death, disability of the taxpayer, withdrawing to avoid a foreclosure or eviction, or to pay health insurance premiums when unemployed. For a full list of these hardship circumstances, visit the site of the blog post at

    What concessions are made with a hardship distribution? The distribution’s penalty is waived, but it does not mean income taxes are going away. Jim Hitt notes in the post that growth on the retirement contributions will still be taxed as income. But the heavy fees of taking early distributions from retirement are waived during these special conditions of hardship.

    “People with Self-Directed IRAs sometimes worry that their funds will never be available to them,” says Jim Hitt. “And that is true to an extent: retirement investors should consider their retirement separate from their usual accounts. But it does not mean that there are no circumstances in which you can access that retirement money. These hardship distributions make it possible to pull money from retirement in emergency circumstances. It is not the ideal solution, but for some people, it may be the only way to avoid even worse problems with their finances.”

    According to Jim Hitt, it is important to weigh options before considering these hardship distributions. The money left in a retirement account can continue to grow with tax protections. “Hardship distributions” could also be called “emergency” distributions for that reason.

    For more information on Self-Directed IRAs, hardship distributions, and American IRA, visit the blog at or call 866-7500-IRA.

    American IRA, LLC was established in 2004 by Jim Hitt in Asheville, NC.
    The mission of American IRA is to provide the highest level of customer service in the self-directed retirement industry. Jim Hitt and his team have grown the company to over $400 million in assets under administration by educating the public that their Self-Directed IRA account can invest in a variety of assets such as real estate, private lending, limited liability companies, precious metals and much more.

    As a Self-Directed IRA administrator they are a neutral third party. They do not make any recommendations to any person or entity associated with investments of any type (including financial representatives, investment promoters or companies, or employees, agents or representatives associated with these firms). They are not responsible for and are not bound by any statements, representations, warranties or agreements made by any such person or entity and do not provide any recommendation on the quality profitability or reputability of any investment, individual or company. The term "they" refers to American IRA, located in Asheville and Charlotte, NC.” Reported by PRWeb 8 hours ago.

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    Latest 2017 ez1095 Affordable Care Act software from now offers efile feature to accommodate the April 2nd deadline Download and test drive for compatibility at

    SAN DIEGO (PRWEB) March 21, 2018

    The latest version of ez1095 2017 has been released by developer’s with the efile version ready to roll for the upcoming efile deadline of April 2nd. With the no cost quick start guide, customer support, and other helpful links, there is no reason to panic about a deadline.

    “The latest 2017 ez1095 ACA software has implemented an efile feature for the upcoming efile deadline of April 2nd.” said Dr. Ge, the founder of

    See and utilize the links below regarding ACA Electronic Filing for the upcoming deadline
    How to efile
    How to apply for a TCC code
    How to validate XML efile documents before submitting to the IRS

    Priced from just $195 per installation, ($295 for efile version) ez1095 2017 supports unlimited company accounts on the same computer at no additional cost.

    Download and try out this ACA software from before purchasing with no obligation by visiting

    The main features include but are not limited to :· Peace of mind offered with new test scenario for efiling 1094 and 1095 ACA forms
    · Correction and replacement form filing available
    · Print ACA Form 1095-C, 1094-C, 1095-B and 1094-B on white paper for recipients and IRS with inkjet or laser printer.
    · PDF print 1095-C and 1095-B recipient copies
    · Efile version available at additional cost.
    · Support unlimited companies.
    · Support unlimited number of recipients.
    · Print unlimited number of 1095 and 1094 forms.
    · Fast data import feature
    · Print Form 1095 C: Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage Insurance
    · Print Form 1094 C: Transmittal of Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage Information Returns
    · Print Form 1095-B: Health Coverage
    · Print Form 1094-B: Transmittal of Health Coverage Information Return

    ez1095 software is compatible Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista, XP and other Windows systems. Designed with simplicity in mind, ez1095 software is easy to use and flexible. ez1095 software’s graphical interface leads customers step-by-step through setting up company, adding employees, add forms and print forms. Customers can also click form level help links to get more details regarding the software.

    To learn more about ez1095 ACA software, customers can visit

    Founded in 2003, has established itself as a leader in meeting the software needs of small businesses around the world with its payroll software, employee attendance tracking software, check printing software, W2 software, 1099 software and barcode generating software. It continues to grow with its philosophy that small business owners need affordable, user friendly, super simple, and totally risk-free software. Reported by PRWeb 4 hours ago.

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    A huge healthcare company with a key role in drug pricing just had a meltdown when one of its contracts was posted online **

    · *Axios posted a template for a contract between Express Scripts, the country's largest pharmacy benefits manager, and its clients. *
    · *On Tuesday, Express Scripts demanded it be taken down, citing copyright infringement.*
    · *The contract highlights the many ways Express Scripts gets paid by pharmaceutical companies on top of their own clients.*
    · *It also requires clients to do on-site contract reviews and closely monitored audits.*


    Express Scripts, one of the largest healthcare companies in America, behaves like it has something to hide.

    On Tuesday, citing copyright infringement, Express Scripts had DocumuentCloud — a service that lets people upload and publish documents to the web — remove a template of one its contracts from the Internet. The template had been uploaded by news site Axios, and it offered us a rare look at the secret sauce that has made Express Scripts' business such a success. Axios's story on the subject is still up but currently says the publication is looking for another way to share the document.

    Express Scripts is the largest pharmacy benefits manager in the country. That means they control lists called formularies — the lists that determine what drugs your health insurance (public or private) will pay for. They are, in a sense, the gatekeepers between your dollars and pharmaceutical companies.

    With drug prices soaring this function has become highly profitable. Revenue could top $100 billion and earnings could grow by over 33% this year, the company has told investors — who have made a bundle as the stock has soared over the past few years. Anyway, the company just landed a $67 billion sale to insurer Cigna.

    But the PBMs role in drug pricing has also become highly contentious. Express Scripts biggest client, insurance company Anthem, accused it of overcharging last year and said it would start its own rival as a result. Another question, if the PBMs job is to help insurers and employers limit payments to drugs that work, why do they continue to leave ineffective or unproven drugs, or those with much cheaper alternatives, on their lists? Who is paying for that?

    At the heart of all this is the PBMs secrecy. We know nearly nothing about how they're getting paid and by whome, and they work hard to keep it that way.

    Which brings us to the importance of Axios's discovery. 

    The 36 page contract that Axios put up was between an employer — that is, whoever is paying for your insurance — and Express Scripts. Because it was a template, and it contained no specific numbers, but it did outline general terms for how Express Scripts gets paid, and why.

    Much of payment has to do with the rebates pharmaceutical companies pay in order to cut a deal with Express Scripts and the client. Pharmaceutical companies want their drugs to be on your formulary so your insurer will pay for it, and the fatter the rebate they offer Express Scripts, the better the chance of that.

    The thing is, Express Scripts doesn't give that entire rebate back to the client. It keeps some — we don't know how much — and it's a different amount for every client.

    The how much, why and when of those rebates going to Express Scripts is drawn up in encyclopedic detail in every contract. It's clear from this template, though that the contract the company explicitly gives itself the right to "realize positive margin" — make money — without necessarily having to share it with clients.

    That is to say, you.

    *The devil is in the details*

    There are other weird things in the contract too. For example, Express Scripts gets to determine what a "generic drug" is based on their internal algorithm which can be viewed by a client's auditor upon request. Clients can audit Express Scripts, but the audits must be conducted with an auditor approved by Express Scripts at Express Scripts.

    Again, we should note that Express Scripts has come under fire recently for this very issue. Back in 2016 Anthem, then the company's biggest client, sued Express Scripts for putting them into a predatory contract. After this came to light Express Scripts told its other clients that Anthem's contract was just especially bad. Nothing to see.

    But the SEC has also wondered recently about who Express Scripts' real clients are — the drugmakers or the insurers. Last year it sent the company a series of letters about that question. Based on how the company marks its revenue, certain line items suggested Express Scripts might have an incentive to serve the needs of pharmaceutical companies as much as they do their own clients.

    The contract that Axios posted showed that Express Scripts collects a bunch of fees from drug companies that have nothing to do with rebates. These include "administration fees" and "other pharma revenue." Express Scripts can also negotiate rebates directly for itself. In fact, what's considered a "rebate" at all is subject to all kinds of ifs ands and buts.

    In practice, this can look even uglier than it does on paper. One of the fees Express Scripts can collect from a drug company, according to this contract, is called an "inflation fee," that is to say the rebates must keep up with price hikes.

    At the moment, Express Scripts is suing Kaleo, the manufacturer of Evzio, an auto-injector that delivers a single dose of potentially life-saving naloxone. Kaleo jacked up the price of Evzio  from $690/dose to $4,500/dose, so Express Scripts is suing them, not for hurting its clients, but for not sharing the wealth.

    In the lawsuit this is called a "price protection payment," and Express Scripts thinks it should mean Kaleo owes it another $14 million.

    This contract makes one wonder how much of that $14 million Express Scripts' clients would ever see.

    When Axios asked Express Scripts for comment on this contract it said that it's years old — that is to say barely relevant. 

    So what's the harm in putting it back up? Express Scripts has yet to respond to our request for comment.*SEE ALSO: *

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: How the super-wealthy hide billions using tax havens and shell companies Reported by Business Insider 1 hour ago.

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    Beyond medical costs, a trip to the hospital can mean a permanent reduction in income for many Americans, even for those with health insurance. Reported by 11 minutes ago.

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    The Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal is the textbook case of why we need new privacy protections (FB, GOOGL, TWTR)· *The Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal has highlighted the lack of privacy protections in the US.*
    · *Thanks to the lack of privacy protections, US companies can generally collect whatever information they want on consumers and do with it as they wish — as long as they disclose what they're doing first.*
    · *The scandal may have lots of different results, but one ought to be new, comprehensive privacy protections.*

    --------------------The Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal may lead to a lot of things, from a congressional subpoena for Mark Zuckerberg to a widespread movement by Facebook users to delete their accounts.

    But here's hoping for one particular outcome — that it leads policy makers in Washington to finally make the protection of consumers' private data a priority.

    The United States needs a comprehensive privacy law. And it needs regulators who will vigorously enforce not only that law, but the privacy protections already on the books.

    Because whatever else we might discover about Cambridge Analytica's illegitimate harvesting of Facebook user data, this much is clear: when it comes to consumers' privacy, industry self-regulation has been a failure.

    The technology and related industries collect far too much personal data on the users of their services. They generally do a terrible job of getting actual informed consent from their users for the collection and use of that data. And they've shown over and over again that they can't be trusted to keep all that data safe and secure or limit who has access to it.

    The United States "desperately needs to update its consumer privacy laws," says Marc Rotenberg, president of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a consumer advocacy group that pushes for privacy protections. "Our current system truly isn't working at almost an egregious level."

    *Facebook allowed Cambridge Analytica to glean data on millions of its users*

    In the latest Facebook scandal, a university researcher convinced some 270,000 Facebook users to install a personality test app. Through the app, the researcher got access to the Facebook data of not only those users but of their friends as well — an estimated 50 million people in total.

    Despite asserting that the user data would only be used for academic purposes, the researcher violated Facebook's rules and passed it on to Cambridge Analytica, a data analysis firm that later worked with Donald Trump's presidential campaign,

    When Facebook found out that the firm had amassed data on all those users, Facebook asked Cambridge Analytica to delete the data. It also later changed its terms of service so app developers couldn't gain access to the data of users' friends.

    Just because Facebook decided to be a good actor doesn't mean Twitter or Google or LinkedIn or the next startup that we haven't heard of yet is going to be a good actor

    But Facebook has come under fire — deservedly — because it allowed Cambridge Analytica to gain access to the data of millions of users without those users' consent or even knowledge. Even after it became aware that the data firm had gotten access to users' information illegitimately, it apparently never alerted those users. What's more, Facebook reportedly did little to ensure that Cambridge Analytica and its app developer actually deleted the data.

    How many other apps with access to Facebook user data might have also ignored Facebook's rules and secretly passed the information on to another party? And how effective are Facebook's systems for preventing this kind of thing from happening? 

    The truth is, we simply don't know. And Facebook has not exactly been forthcoming or transparent in sharing details with the public so far.

    In changing its terms of service to restrict app developers from accessing the data of a user's friends, Facebook seems to have realized that it had crossed a line with regard to how it handles users' information, said Allie Bohm, policy counsel at Public Knowledge, a consumer research group. But there's nothing to stop Facebook from changing its terms of service again to allow that kind of information gathering, she said. And even if Facebook wouldn't do that, there's nothing to stop other companies from allowing such data gathering.

    "Just because Facebook decided to be a good actor doesn't mean Twitter or Google or LinkedIn or the next startup that we haven't heard of yet is going to be a good actor," Bohm said. "This speaks to why Congress needs to step in to address privacy and data use."

    *Privacy protections in the US are spotty*

    The reason that Facebook and other companies can allow such data access is because privacy protections in the United States are spotty at best. You've probably heard of HIPAA — the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act — which protects the privacy of health information. You may have heard of COPPA — the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act — which guards the privacy of kids under 13. And you may have run into Gramm-Leach-Bliley when signing a mortgage or other financial document; it protect the privacy of personal financial information.

    But outside of those specific areas, the US has few rules to govern what kinds and how much personal information companies can collect or what they can do with it.

    During initial commercialization of the internet in the late 1990s, privacy advocates raised concerns about the data online companies were even then starting to collect. The big push at the time was for companies to post privacy polices that spelled out for users what information they were gathering on them and what they planned to do with it. The idea was that companies should seek to get their users' informed consent to their data collection practices.

    But those privacy policies turned out to be something of a joke. There were typically so long and so dense with legalese that as a practical matter, they were impossible to read for most consumers. And instead of protecting consumers' privacy, they typically served as legal cover for companies to collect all the data on users' they wanted. As long as they spelled out what they were doing, companies were protected — no matter if few customers actual read the documents or really understood how their data was being used.

    "I don't think you can consider that reasonable consent in people's digital lives," said Nuala O'Connor, CEO of the Center for Democracy and Technology.

    *Companies are generally free to collect whatever data they'd like*

    But because there's no overarching privacy law or federal government agency to spell out privacy rules, companies have been free to collect whatever information they liked. The Federal Trade Commission has nominal authority over privacy matters, but it's part of the joke. It's generaly limited to guarding consumers against fraud and deceptive practices. As long as companies' data gather adhered to what they disclosed in their privacy policies, the FTC didn't have a problem with them — no matter how much data they collected or what they did with it.

    In recent years, companies such as Facebook, Apple, and Google have given users more options to control who has access to their private information. But those controls are often buried within settings menus that are typically difficult to navigate much less understand.

    And even then, there's a problem of what we might call information asymmetry. The companies that want access to users' personal data almost always have a better sense of how valuable that information is and how that information can be used than do users themselves.

    Even if Facebook users had known that Cambridge Analytica had gotten access to their personal data, it's doubtful they would have understood that that data could be used to create psychological profiles of them that could be in turn used to try to influence how they voted. Such disproportionate awareness makes a mockery of the whole notion of informed consent.

    *We need new privacy protections*

    So what's needed? Likely something like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that's about to take effect in Europe. That legislation, which is being put in place by all of the countries in the European Union, forces companies that want to collect information on consumers to spell out clearly the information they seek to collect and get consumers to explicitly consent to each and every specific practice. It also gives consumers the right to see what information companies have collected on them, it gives them the right to take that data with them to other companies, and requires companies to notify affecting consumers in the case of a data breach within 72 hours.

    "I really like the GDPR," Bohm said. She continued: "I don't see any reason why companies shouldn't be required to do that sort of thing here."

    But I'd advocate Congress going even further than the Europeans and make clear that some data collection and uses of data are out of bounds, as well as setting guidelines on how long companies can keep data. For example, what Cambridge Analytica was able to do — surreptitiously gain access to the personal data of millions of consumers without their knowledge or consent — just shouldn't be allowed.

    To be sure, I'm a realist. Consumer advocates have been pushing for a comprehensive privacy law in the United States for decades to no avail. Republicans in Congress are generaly opposed to regulation of any kind and Democrats are closely tied to the very tech companies that oppose efforts to put new privacy laws in place. And even if they were all onboard, this Congress has been singularly unproductive at doing much of anything. So even at this moment, the chances that Congress will pass a new privacy law are not great.

    But one can hope. And even if Congress ducks it yet again, this issue is not going away.

    *SEE ALSO: Mark Zuckerberg is acting like a man who can’t be fired — and the unique way his stock is structured could be why*

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The best and worst features of the Samsung Galaxy S9 Reported by Business Insider 21 hours ago.

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    A bipartisan effort to include legislation that would help shore up individual health-insurance markets will likely not be included in the proposed spending bill Congress is crafting. Reported by Seattle Times 14 hours ago.

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    Promoting pet health and wellness, Embrace Pet Insurance provides travel tips, so your pets can join you on vacation.

    CLEVELAND (PRWEB) March 22, 2018

    Travelling with pets has received a lot of attention from the news media recently. This week, United Airlines announced it will temporarily stop taking new reservations to carry animals in its planes' cargo compartments. With news like this, it’s not surprising that may pet parents have decided to opt for a spring break road trip with their pet instead. Embrace Pet Insurance compiled a list of tips to make it a comfortable and safe journey for everyone. Here are some cat- and dog-friendly travel tips for when you decide to pack up your furry family member.

    1.    Keeping Them Safe and Secure
    As you’re making a list of everything you need for your trip, add a well-ventilated pet carrier or crate. Whichever type you choose, make sure your pet will be able to move around, stand, and sit in it. If you can’t find a crate or carrier to meet your needs, a pet safety belt is the next best option.

    2.    Bring Something Familiar
    Does your pet have a favorite blanket, toy, or bed? It’s ideal to bring cat and dog travel items with you as they can ease some anxiety and provide a sense of familiarity.

    3.    Make Sure Your Pet is Comfortable with Car Rides
    If your pet is used to car rides, you likely won’t have any issues. However, if your pet isn’t used to rides, you should start by taking them on short car rides around the block and then lengthen the ride a bit to get them used to the car. If your pet isn’t used to the car, don’t just assume they will be fine. Dogs, and even cats, can experience a great deal of anxiety about something new like traveling.

    4.    A Quick Vet Check Can’t Hurt
    Make sure your pet is physically healthy and ready for the trip with a quick check-up at the vet. Talk the trip over with your veterinarian to ensure your pet has the right temperament and health status to take on a lengthy trip and new surroundings.

    5.    Think About Microchipping
    Losing your pet would be a devastating experience. Thankfully, technology has come a long way. At your pre-trip check-up, talk to your vet about microchipping your pet. A microchip is about the size of a piece of rice and injected under the skin. The microchip comes with a registration number that can be read by using a scanning tool, which will then link to your information.

    If your pet is already microchipped, make sure all your information is current. Check their tags to make sure everything is up-to-date as well.

    6.    Stop for Breaks
    If your pet is used to a normal potty break and feeding routine, make sure to schedule your trip in such a way that will allow for the same breaks. It’s not ideal to feed your pet in a moving vehicle, so make it a point to stop during regular feeding times.

    Before you venture out on your road trip, check online and see which rest stops along the way have dog walking areas. This will give your pup a break to stretch his legs.

    7.    Make Sure Your Pet Keeps His Head Inside
    While it’s cute to see your dog stick his head out the window and take in all the fresh air, it’s not safe. Oncoming traffic or flying objects could injure him. It’s best for your dog to sit in a pet seat belt or a crate.

    8.    Protect them with Pet Insurance
    Unexpected accidents and illnesses can happen at any time – and our dogs and cats aren’t exempt from this. Having pet insurance is like having a safety net for unexpected veterinary bills. It provides you with peace of mind that if the unexpected happens, you’re covered. Pet insurance has no networks, so you can seek treatment with any licensed veterinarian during your trip.


    About Embrace Pet Insurance
    Embrace Pet Insurance is a top-rated pet health insurance provider for dogs and cats in the United States. Embrace offers one simple yet comprehensive accident and illness insurance plan that is underwritten by American Modern Insurance Group, Inc. In addition to insurance, Embrace offers Wellness Rewards, an optional preventative care product that is unique to the industry. Wellness Rewards reimburses for routine veterinary visits, grooming, vaccinations, training, and much more with no itemized limitations. Embrace is a proud member of the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA) and continues to innovate and improve the pet insurance experience for pet parents across the country. For more information about Embrace Pet Insurance, visit or call (800) 511-9172. Reported by PRWeb 9 hours ago.

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    Madison-based mutual life insurance company National Guardian Life Insurance Company (NGL) and its subsidiaries, Settlers Life Insurance Company, located in Bristol, Va., and Commercial Travelers Life Insurance Company, located in Utica, N.Y., reported a record sales year of $790 million in 2017, which is an increase of 8% over 2016.

    MADISON, Wis. (PRWEB) March 22, 2018

    Madison-based mutual life insurance company National Guardian Life Insurance Company (NGL) and its subsidiaries, Settlers Life Insurance Company, located in Bristol, Va., and Commercial Travelers Life Insurance Company, located in Utica, N.Y., reported a record sales year of $790 million in 2017, which is an increase of 8% over 2016.

    “Strong sales confirm we are meeting important insurance needs in the marketplace today. It also helps to ensure the long term financial strength of our organization,” said Mark L. Solverud, NGL President & CEO.

    The 2017 sales results contributed to the growth of the consolidated statutory assets to $4.3 billion. On a consolidated statutory basis, NGL had a net gain of $38 million, which is a very solid result given the pressure that low investment rates continue to place on operating performance.

    NGL’s largest business line, from a sales standpoint, is pre-need insurance. Pre-need insurance is life insurance used to fund pre-arranged funeral contracts. Sales in this line of business were $451 million. Sales were also strong in the Individual Life & Annuity line of business, which offers products that assist seniors in their estate planning, totaling $124 million. The final expense insurance sales through NGL’s subsidiary Settlers Life Insurance Company totaled $11.0 million. NGL’s Group Market’s line of business (group accident and health) totaled $204 million, an increase of 17% over 2016. The Group Markets business includes student accident and health insurance marketed by NGL’s subsidiary Commercial Travelers Life Insurance Company.

    “We are extremely grateful for our 1.2 million policyholders who place their trust in NGL and our subsidiaries. We are also thankful for our thousands of sales representatives, marketing partners and over 500 employees who serve our policyholders,” said Solverud.

    A complete 2017 Annual Report is located at:

    These financial indicators reflect a financially strong company, as does NGL’s A- (Excellent) rating from A.M. Best Company, the leading provider of ratings and financial data for the insurance industry.

    About NGL

    Since 1910, National Guardian Life Insurance Company (NGL), a mutual insurance company, is located in Madison, Wis. Licensed to do business in 49 states and the District of Columbia, NGL markets pre-need and individual life and annuities, as well as group markets products including specialty and student insurance. Additional information about NGL can be found at; Facebook: and LinkedIn:

    About Commercial Travelers Life Insurance Company

    Since 1883, Commercial Travelers has provided coverage for student accident, health and special risk markets to students in K-12 through college, school sports, and special risk coverage. Located in Utica, N.Y., NGL entered into an affiliation with Commercial Travelers in 2012. In 2017, CT was approved by NY to be demutualized and became a wholly-owned stock subsidiary of NGL. For more information, visit

    About Settlers Life Insurance Company

    A member of NGL group of companies since 1999, Settlers Life Insurance Company is located in Bristol, Va. Settlers Life specializes in simplified issue, final expense, and whole life insurance coverage for ages 15 days to 85 years. Additional information about Settlers Life can be found at

    NGL reported $3.9 billion in consolidated liabilities for 2017. Financials current as of 12/31/17. Ratings current as of 02/15/18.

    National Guardian Life Insurance Company is not affiliated with The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America a/k/a The Guardian or Guardian Life. Reported by PRWeb 9 hours ago.

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    Healthereum, a blockchain solution that rewards healthy behavior, is solving major healthcare issues related to patient no-shows, medical surveys, quality of care, and medical billing.

    (PRWEB) March 22, 2018

    Healthereum's objective is clear and differs from the typical “expose medical data to the blockchain” startup. Not only is the team composed of real medical professionals who already live and breathe healthcare, The company is also addressing real issues in the industry: Patient no-shows, medical surveys, quality of care, and medical billing.

    These are all factors that directly impact patient financials and make medical bill balances look like a phone number. Healthereum's medical professionals experience these inefficiencies first-hand. In fact, these issues also impact provider's bottom line at hospitals and Healthereum is finally engaging the medical community to address it.

    Healthereum was founded to solve these issues. The company is enabling hospitals, gyms, and the neighborhood grocery store to reward healthy activity. Yes, a reward will finally be available for living a healthy lifestyle. It’s that simple.

    Healthereum is motivating individuals to become accountable for things like going to the doctor, staying in shape, and maintaining a proper diet. This positive behavior will be used to propel the innovative blockchain design and save the healthcare industry millions of dollars. The patient user contributes to the platform as a participant and is in return rewarded with HEALTH tokens

    Healthereum is a new concept. The team wants hospitals to win, doctors to win, and patients to win. In fact, there are also benefits to health insurance companies to adopt Healthereum as the platform addresses a little known issue called “insurance claim fraud.” This issue costs insurance companies billions of dollars per year.

    Subscribe to Healthereum today and start changing the healthcare system together. Reported by PRWeb 6 hours ago.

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    In a move that increases health care insurance options and manages cost for consumers, Accel at Golden Ridge, a premier skilled nursing center and rehabilitative facility, announces a new in-network insurance provider agreement between Cigna Healthcare of Colorado and Accel at Golden Ridge, effective March 15, 2018

    GOLDEN, Colo. (PRWEB) March 22, 2018

    Accel at Golden Ridge Announces New Health Plan Option

    In a move that increases health care insurance options and manages cost for consumers, Accel at Golden Ridge announces a new in-network insurance provider agreement between Cigna Healthcare of Colorado and Accel at Golden Ridge, effective March 15, 2018. Accel at Golden Ridge is a premier skilled nursing center and rehabilitative facility, also offering wound care treatment services for the Colorado marketplace.

    “Increased access to insurance options is a top priority for Accel at Golden Ridge,” says Aaron Aguilera, Director of External Relations, Accel at Golden Ridge. “The addition of Cigna Health Insurance, as one of Colorado’s largest health plans, ensures these customers have access to our exceptional skilled nursing, rehabilitation and wound care services.”

    The new in-network insurance provider agreement between Cigna Healthcare and Accel at Golden Ridge will allow admittance for short-term, in-patient therapies and skilled nursing with lower, in-network copays, deductibles, and annual out-of-pocket expenses.

    For more information, visit:

    About Accel at Golden Ridge
    Accel at Golden Ridge opened in July 2017 in Golden, Colorado to serve Jefferson County and the greater Denver area. The new facility offers in-patient transitional care and state-of-the-art wound care services with trained personnel. The 60,000-square-foot facility offers two rehabilitation gyms, modern equipment, technologies and programs that are designed to help patients recover as quickly as possible and return to their prior level of function. Accel provides pulmonary, cardiac, wound, infectious disease, physiatry and orthopedic care.

    About StoneGate Senior Living:
    StoneGate Senior Living is the management company for Accel at Golden Ridge and is an award-winning full-spectrum senior care and housing company with 44 properties across Texas, Oklahoma and Colorado. Recently ranked as the nation’s 31st largest transitional and long-term care company by Provider magazine, StoneGate is a fully-integrated post-acute health care company, with service-lines and business units that offer transitional care, long-term care, assisted living, memory care, rehabilitation, wellness, pharmacy, care navigation and post-acute analytical services.

    Learn more at Reported by PRWeb 5 hours ago.

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    Company Wellness Programs have become more common over the last few years and are proven to increase productivity and retention, reduce sick days, and lower insurance premiums. Along with gym memberships and fitness trackers, there is a growing trend of companies adding adjustable height standing desks, like MojoDesk, to their program.

    DENVER (PRWEB) March 22, 2018

    Company Wellness Programs have become more common over the last few years, and for good reason. The benefits are, in short, happier and healthier employees. These programs are proven to increase productivity and retention, reduce sick days, and lower health care costs.

    Wellness programs range from adding gyms, on-site yoga classes, walking meetings or simply offering a yearly credit towards health-related purchases. Many companies have expanded their list of items or services that qualify for reimbursement: health club membership dues, entry fees for marathons, stress management class costs, group exercise class expenses, and fitness trackers. Additionally, there is a growing trend of companies focusing on the benefits of ergonomic workstations such as adjustable height standing desks, like MojoDesk.

    Sit-to-Stand desks are often referred to as “standing desks.” Which is better? Sitting or standing? The right answer is both. The health benefits of an ergonomically correct workstation are detailed in the book called Get Up! Why Your Chair Is Killing You and What You Can Do About It, written by James Levine, professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic. Frequently changing positions promotes blood flow to large muscle groups and increased metabolism.

    Corporate Kinesiologist Stevyn Guinnip also reinforces the importance of moving throughout the workday. “It’s no secret that we sit too much as a culture. As a result, people are looking for standing desk solutions to combat the negative effects that sitting has on the body,” said Guinnip. The key for workplace wellness is to alternate between sitting and standing. This is known as postural rotation. Traditional task chairs with lumbar support and armrests hinder your ability to be strong and injury free because the core muscles that stack and protect the spine begin to get smaller and weaker. That’s why, as a Kinesiologist, I recommend a two-part solution by adding an adjustable desk like MojoDesk and an active, ergonomic chair, such as the Varier MOVE, to your workstation.”

    Three main factors in active seating:· Open hip angle
    · Stacked spine using your own muscles
    · Ability to move, change position, or fidget. Adding an active, ergonomic chair such as MOVE

    A video by Stevyn Guinnip discussing ergonomics, demonstrating correct seating positions, and the importance of both standing and sitting at work can be viewed here.

    Wellness programs are often managed by health insurance companies. An example is BlueCross Blue Shield of Tennessee that "assists employers in implementing or structuring customized programs to encourage and reward healthy choices and behavior" (Press release). They customize programs, such as wellness credits, with the incentive of premium reductions.

    Other ways of improving health are changing from boxes of donuts in the breakroom and bottomless candy dishes to fruit platters and a smoothie bar. Stressful days can lead to grabbing a bag of fast food or turning to other unhealthy choices. Combine that with sitting for 8-10 hours at a traditional desk and this can lead to weight gain and sluggishness. An ergonomically correct sit-to-stand desk keeps employees comfortable throughout their workday. Exercising is not enough if they go right back to sitting.

    In summary, there are many factors companies must take to improve employee wellness and for their programs to be successful. A successful wellness program will result in benefits for both the employee and company. And these programs don’t need to be a massive investment for a company. The first step is a biometric screening so employees can know their health numbers. This includes monitoring improvement in body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, and cholesterol. The second stop is accountability and monitoring progress. Examples of increasing engagement and motivation in the program are monthly newsletters and building a community of collaboration with a Facebook group. In conclusion, any effort a company takes towards workplace health will result in companies lowering their healthcare costs, higher productivity, and happier employees.

    Related Articles:

    · Mashable: Unique Wellness Programs

    · Harvard Business Review: Wellness Program ROI

    About MojoDesk:

    Designed and made in the US, MojoDesk is a commercial grade electric sit-to-stand desk that is as beautiful as it is functional and minimalistic. Each desktop is finished with UL Greenguard certified 3-D NextGen laminate. An innovative magnetic cable management system, called MAGicSnap, hides all wires for a clean, uncluttered look. Desktops are available in 6 finishes: American Oak, Concrete, Carbon Fiber, Obsidian Oak, Natural Maple, and White.

    MojoDesk is a new consumer product division of Xybix. The company, which employs 75 people, manufactures all desktops at their 40,000-square foot factory in Littleton, CO. Xybix has been in business since 1991.

    MojoDesk Showroom and Factory:

    8207 SouthPark Circle
    Littleton, CO 80120 Reported by PRWeb 5 hours ago.

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    PreparedHealth expands advisory board with care transitions expert, Mary Naylor, to accelerate impact of enTouch and DINA

    CHICAGO (PRWEB) March 22, 2018

    PreparedHealth ( announced today the appointment of Dr. Mary Naylor to their advisory board. Dr Naylor is currently the Marian S. Ware Professor of Gerontology and Director of the NewCourtland Center for Transitions and Health at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. Her work with the Transitional Care Model has been integral to advancing care for older adults, managing their transition from hospital to home while improving the health outcomes and also lowering costs.

    "Mary Naylor is an integral voice in advancing care for the rapidly growing elderly population in the US. We are thrilled to have such an esteemed partner on our team helping us to empower the care providers and family members that are striving to keep their loved ones healthy and happy at home. Her work in transitional care will be vital to the evolution of enTouch and DINA," said Ashish V. Shah, President and CEO of PreparedHealth.

    Dr. Naylor ( is a pioneer in the design, evaluation, and spread of health care innovations that have significantly improved the outcomes of chronically ill older adults and their family caregivers, while reducing health care costs. In collaboration with a multidisciplinary team of clinical scholars and health services researchers, her work has resulted in the Transitional Care Model, a cost-effective advanced practice nurse-led model to improve the transitions of older adults who are navigating complex and often fragmented systems of care.

    "I'm thrilled to join forces with PreparedHealth and am excited to see how our partnership can further enhance care models for the booming aging population while lowering costs and avoiding unnecessary hospitalizations," said Dr. Mary Naylor.

    Dr. Naylor has worked tirelessly to advocate for changes in health care practices and policies across the globe that are informed by rigorous research. For example, her advocacy contributed to the inclusion of evidence-based transitional care in multiple policies designed to foster health care delivery and payment reforms, including several provisions of the 2010 Affordable Care Act. As a member of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, Dr. Naylor advised the U.S. Congress on policies designed to offer a more promising future for Medicare beneficiaries.

    About PreparedHealth
    PreparedHealth is focused on helping people get well faster and stay well longer in the comfort of their home. With the enTouch Network, everyone stays connected in real-time, receiving care updates as they happen, and improving the odds a patient's in-home care will be a success. From home-based providers to hospitals to health insurance plans, PreparedHealth is transforming the industry by leveraging technology and data to optimize care and improve outcomes for patients.
    For more information, visit Reported by PRWeb 5 hours ago.

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    Humana Inc. agreed to pay  $2.5 million in back wages and interest as part of a conciliation agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor. The payment resolves allegations of pay discrimination against 753 women at the health insurance company’s Louisville headquarters, according to a news release from the Labor Department. The Labor Department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs claims that in 2011-12, Humana paid women in consulting, project manager and manager positions less… Reported by bizjournals 6 minutes ago.

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    Democrats won't back latest health-insurance stabilization bill because it includes language restricting federal funding of abortions.

      Reported by 4 days ago.

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    WASHINGTON (AP) — The polarizing politics of abortion have burst into the congressional budget debate, overwhelming bipartisan efforts to help millions of consumers who buy their own health insurance policies get relief from soaring premiums. On Monday, Senate and House Republicans released their latest plan to stabilize the Affordable Care Act's insurance markets. It provides new federal money to offset the cost of treating the sickest patients and restores insurer subsidies that President Donald Trump terminated last year. That's clearly a big shift from last year, when repealing "Obamacare" was the GOP's demand. Reported by 4 days ago.

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    ROCKVILLE, Maryland, March 23, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The American Kidney Fund (AKF) is disappointed by the introduction of SB 1156, sponsored by Senator Connie Leyva (District 20). 

    If passed this bill would cause profound harm to many of the nearly 67,000 Californians who rely on dialysis to stay alive. AKF provides a safety net to dialysis patients who are unable to afford their health care coverage.  More than 17,000 people who are on dialysis live in the counties in Sen. Leyva’s district, and nearly 300 of them are receiving assistance from AKF to pay their health insurance premiums. This bill seeks to limit those patients’ access to lifesaving financial assistance and is nothing more than a thinly-veiled attempt by large health insurance companies to kick kidney patients off their insurance plans.

    AKF provides financial assistance for all types of health insurance plans, including Medicare, Medigap and Medicare Advantage. In California last year, we helped more than 3,800 dialysis patients pay their health insurance premiums; 65% of plans were Medicare, Medigap or Medicare Advantage and 35% were employer-provided plans. The remaining 10% were private commercial plans.

    Though most end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients qualify for Medicare regardless of their age, California is one of only two states that specifically excludes ESRD patients who are under 65 from supplemental Medigap coverage. Because Medicare covers only 80% of all of medical appointments and treatments, including dialysis (with no out of pocket maximum), patients without a Medigap plan are financially liable for 20% of the cost. For someone with an expensive, chronic health condition like ESRD, that could mean financial ruin.  That’s why the American Kidney Fund steps in to make charitable grants to help patients meet their expenses. 

    The majority of California’s dialysis patients are under 65 and disproportionately low-income and minorities.  This bill would harm some of the most vulnerable people in California.  We strongly urge state lawmakers to vote against this bill.
    *About the American Kidney Fund*

    As the nation’s leading nonprofit working on behalf of the 30 million Americans with kidney disease, the American Kidney Fund is dedicated to ensuring that every kidney patient has access to health care, and that every person at risk for kidney disease is empowered to prevent it. AKF provides a complete spectrum of programs and services: prevention outreach, top-rated health educational resources, and direct financial assistance enabling 1 in 5 U.S. dialysis patients to access lifesaving medical care, including dialysis and transplantation. AKF holds the highest ratings from the nation’s charity watchdog groups, including Charity Navigator, which includes AKF on its “top 10” list of nonprofits with the longest track records of outstanding stewardship of the donated dollar, and GuideStar, which has awarded AKF its Platinum Seal of Transparency.

    For more information, please visit, or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.   


    A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

    CONTACT: Alice Andors
    American Kidney Fund
    240-292-7053 Reported by GlobeNewswire 5 minutes ago.