Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Mid-Week Linkfest

From SoIB Gail S, we learn that a "common heart drug called a beta blocker was associated with a striking increase in survival for women with ovarian cancer in a study that suggests a possible new strategy for treating a variety of tumors."

Although the test subjects were taking the med to treat their hypertension, not specifically for cancer, the effect was such that they ended up living up to four years longer.

There were a few wrinkles such that the results aren’t necessarily dispositive, but they're certainly powerful enough to warrant additional research, and perhaps lead to even better cancer treatment options.

Your tax $$'s at work. We've mentioned the myriad problems related to the ObamaTax risk adjustment program before, but this news lends additional fodder:

"Before an insurer in a market can collect the risk-adjustment program cash transfers it's expecting to receive for the 2014 benefit year, the insurers in the market that owe the payables have to pay their risk-adjustment program bills."

That is, Company B must wait to collect its share until Company A ponies up what it was dinged. And what happens when a carrier goes south? Well then, all bets may well be off.

Talk about a chilling effect on the market.

Continuing our IRS-bashing theme (and a more deserving group of folks it would be hard to imagine):

"How slow are the project trackers helping the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) keep tabs on Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) administration system projects?"

They're so slow that the folks tasked to gather, collate and analyze the info have been left twirling their thumbs. In some cases, info that was supposed to be available in two weeks or less ended up dragging out for almost 3 months. One wonders how helpful that information, now quite stale, turned out to be.

Finally, some good news. Back in March, we reported that The Old Line State was toying with the idea of bringing actual licensed agents onto the state's HIX (as opposed to unlicensed, unvetted amateurs). Now, it seems, they're actually pulling that trigger:

"Maryland’s state-run exchange ... will start a pilot program during this year’s upcoming open enrollment that will transfer consumers calls from a call center directly to a broker, who will then enroll the consumer."

Will be interesting to see how this works out, and whether other states will follow suit.
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