Insurers discriminating against people who get genetic test results could hobble research, bioethicists warn

SMH, 8 November 2017
Author: Kate Aubusson
“Insurers are able to discriminate against individuals who undergo genetic testing, and that threatens to hobble genomic research, bioethics and law experts have warned in a recent paper published in Public Health Genomics. Anyone who receives their results of genetic testing as part of a research project needs to disclose them to insurers if asked, despite the Human Genetics Society of Australasia calling for research findings to be excluded. Insurers can deny cover or hike up premiums for healthy individuals who discover they carry a mutation for a condition they may never develop based on the testing results, the authors warned.”
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Litigation Provides Clues to Ongoing Challenges in Implementing Insurance Parity

Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law 2017, 42(6): 1065-1098
Authors: Kelsey N. Berry, Haiden A. Huskamp et al.
“Over the past twenty-five years, thirty-seven states and the US Congress have passed mental health and substance use disorder (MH/SUD) parity laws to secure nondiscriminatory insurance coverage for MH/SUD services in the private health insurance market and through certain public insurance programs. However, in the intervening years, litigation has been brought by numerous parties alleging violations of insurance parity. We examine the critical issues underlying these legal challenges as a framework for understanding the areas in which parity enforcement is lacking, as well as ongoing areas of ambiguity in the interpretation of these laws.”
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Officer of the Law

N Engl J Med 2017; 377:1610-1611
Author: Raphael Rush
“With rare exceptions, I do not have to share patients’ diagnoses with anyone. But in Ontario, patients with any medical condition that might impair their driving must be reported to the provincial Ministry of Transportation. The treating physician has broad discretion to decide what qualifies as potentially impairing. Like many physicians, I advise patients not to drive until the government deems them fit. It’s one of the few legally required breaks of doctor–patient confidentiality. For each report, the provincial insurer pays doctors $36.25.”
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Patients’ Experiences With Communication-and-Resolution Programs After Medical Injury

JAMA Intern Med. Published online October 09, 2017
Authors: Jennifer Moore, Marie Bismark, Michelle M. Mello
“Dissatisfaction with medical malpractice litigation has stimulated interest by health care organizations in developing alternatives to meet patients’ needs after medical injury. In communication-and-resolution programs (CRPs), hospitals and liability insurers communicate with patients about adverse events, use investigation findings to improve patient safety, and offer compensation when substandard care caused harm. Despite increasing interest in this approach, little is known about patients’ and family members’ experiences with CRPs.”
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Aetna offers emergency compensation for HIV disclosure victims

The Hill, 2 October 2017
Author: Nathaniel Weixel
“Health insurance giant Aetna is offering cash reimbursements to some of the people who were affected when the company accidentally disclosed the HIV statuses of some of its customers. The “emergency relief” program will offer reimbursement and payments to individuals who say they have incurred financial hardship as a direct result of the privacy breach.”
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Indemnity provider calls for urgent reform of negligence payouts

BMJ 2017; 357: j3025
Author: Clare Dyer
“The spiralling cost of clinical negligence claims in England will become unsustainable unless the government reforms the system as a matter of urgency, a leading doctors’ indemnity organisation has argued at the launch of a new campaign.”
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Two Medicare Advantage Insurers Settle Whistleblower Lawsuit For $32 Million

KHN, 30 May 2017
Author: Fred Schulte
“Two Florida Medicare Advantage insurers have agreed to pay nearly $32 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit that alleged they exaggerated how sick patients were and took other steps to overbill the government health plan for the elderly.”
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Trump Seeks Delay of Ruling on Health Law Subsidies, Prolonging Uncertainty

NYT, 22 May 2017
Author: Robert Pear
“The Trump administration asked a federal appeals court on Monday to delay ruling on a lawsuit that could determine whether the government will continue paying subsidies under the Affordable Care Act to health insurance companies for the benefit of low-income people — effectively prolonging uncertainty that is already rattling the health law.”
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Gorsuch On Sidelines As Supreme Court Decides Insurance, Legal Sanctions Cases

Forbes, 18 April 2017
Author: Daniel Fisher
“The U.S. Supreme Court issued a pair of decisions today affecting legal sanctions and the power of states to control insurance contracts, noting in each one the non-participation of the court’s newest Justice, Neil Gorsuch.”
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