Editor’s note: Each Wednesday, Talk Business & Politics provides “Health Beat,” a round-up health-related topics. –––––––––––––––
NEW REPORT DETAILS IMPACT OF THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT AHEAD OF FEDERAL ENROLLMENT DEADLINE
Just before the federal health insurance deadline on Thursday (Dec. 15), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released an extensive compilation of national and state-level data illustrating the substantial improvements in health care for all Americans in the last six years.
The uninsured rate has fallen to the lowest level on record, and 20 million Americans have gained coverage thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). But beyond those people who would otherwise be uninsured, millions of Americans with employer, Medicaid, Medicare, or individual market coverage have benefited from new protections as a result of the law, the report says.
The report includes data on the uninsured, private market reforms, employer coverage, Medicaid, the individual market (including the Health Insurance Marketplace), and Medicare. To learn more, click here.
LIFE INSURANCE INDUSTRY UNVEILS DEATH POLICY LOCATOR AMID ALLEGATIONS OF DEFRAUDING CONSUMERS OF BENEFITS
In the wake of allegations and a lawsuit that the life insurance industry has engaged in a systematic, industry-wide practice of not paying significant numbers of beneficiaries, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) recently unveiled a national service that helps consumers find a deceased loved one’s lost life insurance policies and annuities.
An estimated $1 billion in benefits from life insurance policies are unclaimed, according to Consumer Reports. The new tool builds on the life insurance policy locator programs was developed separately in a number of states before this launch.
According to NAIC, life insurers paid more than $74 billion in 2015 in insurance policy benefits to consumers nationwide. Since 2010, state insurance regulators have investigated unclaimed life insurance benefits. To date, nearly 23 regulatory actions have resulted in returning more than $6.75 billion life insurance proceeds to U.S. consumers.
UAMS PROFESSORS PUBLISH PROJECT WITH 3-D MICROSCOPE IN NATURE PHOTONICS
A project to develop a new type of microscope with unprecedented speed and resolution has revealed previously unseen parts of human cells, as highlighted in a Nature Photonics article co-authored by two researchers in the College of Medicine at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Brian Storrie, Ph.D., and Vladimir Lupashin, Ph.D., both professors of physiology and biophysics at UAMS, wrote the article “High-magnification super-resolution FINCH microscopy using birefringent crystal lens interferometers” along with Gary Brooker, Ph.D., and Nisan Siegel, Ph.D., from Johns Hopkins University.
The project’s holographic microscope – called FINCH, Fresnel Incoherent Correlation Holography – is a novel approach that can produce 3D images, has doubled the resolution power of traditional microscopes and is at least 10 times faster than competing technologies. Nature Photonics is a monthly journal that publishes top-quality, peer-reviewed research in photonics – the scientific study and application of light. The latest article on the FINCH project appeared in the December issue.
SCHMIEDING FOUNDATION GIVES $1 MILLION TO ARKANSAS CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL CAMPUS IN SPRINGDALE
The Schmieding Foundation of Springdale has given $1 million toward the construction of Arkansas Children’s Hospital campus in Springdale. With the gift, the hospital’s occupational and physical therapy gym will be named in honor of the Schmieding Foundation. The 233,613-square-foot hospital is being built on 37 acres west of Interstate 49. With this donation, Northwest Arkansas companies and organizations have donated more than $56 million toward the ACH campus project in the region.