News & Information
Health Insurance Plans Scramble To Figure 2015 Rates
Written by Editor   
Wednesday, April 30, 2014 01:30 PM

With the results sure to affect politics as well as pocketbooks, health insurers are already preparing to raise rates next year for plans issued under the Affordable Care Act.

But their calculation about how much depends on their ability to predict how newly enrolled customers -- for whom little is known regarding health status and medical needs -- - will affect 2015 costs.

WellPoint, the biggest player in the online exchanges, is already talking about double-digit rate hikes for 2015.

"It is an actuarial nightmare to try to guess what you're going to get,"

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Top 5 Reasons Why Medical Internists Are Sued
Written by Editor   
Wednesday, April 30, 2014 01:25 PM
Researchers set out to find the reasons why internists were sued for medical malpractice and to determine how successful the lawsuits were. 

"These data confirm that internists are vulnerable to claims related to what they do commonly -- evaluation and management activities -- and for the commonly fatal diseases that they are expected to diagnose, such as acute myocardial infarction and lung, colon, and breast cancers," the authors wrote.

The five most common reasons internists were sued were:

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Do SSRI Doses Affect Suicide Risk?
Written by Editor   
Wednesday, April 30, 2014 01:20 PM

By the time you read this, there's a good chance you will have seen articles in consumer media saying that high antidepressant doses in teens and young adults increase their risk of suicide. Watch out, it's not that simple.

The study on which those articles would be based is actually a pretty good one.  It found that rates of "deliberate self-harm" (including suicide attempts as well as lesser self-injuries such as cutting) were about twice as highin those in the 10 to 24 age group who were started on selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants at relatively high doses, compared with those taking "modal" or "below-modal" doses Moreover, that hazard ratio reflected adjustment for a self-harm propensity score, which the authors calculated from a set of known risk factors that were tallied in the claims data.

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Exercise During Pregnancy: Few Takers
Written by Editor   
Wednesday, April 30, 2014 01:10 PM

Although pregnant women indicated that they were willing to participate in a structured clinic-based exercise program, only a few actually showed up, researchers reported.  In a small study 52 women completed willingness-to-exercise surveys, and 27 of these pregnant women agreed to participate in a tutored Zumba aerobic dance program – but just three women showed up. 

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Uric Acid Linked to Fracture Risk
Written by Editor   
Wednesday, April 30, 2014 12:42 PM

Older men with higher uric acid levels may be at increased risk for hip fracture, researchers reported here. In a prospective cohort study, men ages 65 and up with uric acid levels above 7 mg/dL were 62% more likely than those with lower levels to fracture a hip.

Research has shown that uric acid, a normal byproduct of cell breakdown, is affected by diet. Sugar and animal products boost uric acid levels, and its harder for kidneys to clear uric acid from blood.  "People with unhealthy dietary habits are more likely to have high uric acid levels, and people with kidney disease are more likely to have high uric acid levels."

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