Editor’s note: Each Wednesday, Talk Business & Politics provides “Health Beat,” a round-up of health-related topics. –––––––––––––––
UNITED HEALTHCARE TO QUIT OBAMACARE BY 2017, WILL LEAVE ARKANSAS IN 2016
The parent company of healthcare insurance giant United Healthcare, which announced earlier this month that it was pulling out of marketplace exchanges in Arkansas and Georgia, said in its first quarter earnings webcast that it will remain in only a handful of states for the rest of 2016 and will carry no financial exposure in 2017 from the federal health exchanges set up by the Affordable Care Act.
United Health Group CEO Stephen Helmsley in his comments to Wall Street analysts said the nation largest healthcare insurer’s higher risk profile within the federal marketplace “continue(s) to suggest we cannot broadly serve it on an effective and sustained basis.” Although it posted net earnings of $1.61 billion on revenue of $44.5 billion in the first quarter, United Health Group projected that it would see total losses of $650 million from its state-by-state exchange business in 2016.
NEW UAMS WEBSITE HELPS ARKANSANS VOLUNTEER FOR RESEARCH
The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Translational Research Institute has launched a new website where Arkansans can now volunteer for research studies. Called ARresearch.org, the website gives Arkansans a place to sign up if they want to be contacted about UAMS studies that are enrolling participants.
According to UAMS officials, there are more than 1,200 active studies by UAMS researchers. The studies range from clinical trials to health surveys and tests of health interventions. UAMS research leaders hope that ARresearch.org can serve Arkansans as well as help meet the needs of researchers. The website’s registry will also match volunteers to studies based on the areas of interest that they check on the form, such as heart disease, mental health and cancer. To learn more, go to the new website here.
CDC RELEASES FIRST RESEARCH REPORT ON EMERGENCY ROOM VISITS UNDER ACA
A new report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examines the percentage of adults aged 18–64 who had an emergency room (ER) visit and their reasons for the most recent visit between 2013 and 2014.
In 2014, 18% of adults visited the ER one or more times. Seriousness of the medical problem was the reason for the most recent ER visit for 77% of adults aged 18–64, 12% because their doctor’s office was not open, and 7% because of a lack of access to other providers (4% did not select any reason).
Percentages were similar in 2013. Controlling for other variables, adults with Medicaid were most likely to report that seriousness of the medical problem was the reason for the most recent ER visit. Adults with private coverage were most likely to have used the ER because the doctor’s office was not open. Uninsured adults were more likely than adults with private coverage to have visited the ER because they lacked access to other providers.
Differences in reasons for use between demographic groups were also identified. To view the full report, click here.