Trending News Today: Department of Justice Moves to Block Insurer Mergers

Top news of the day from across the healthcare landscape.

The Department of Health and Human Services recently gave $156 million to 429 health centers to assist with costs for patients without dental insurance. It is estimated that 180 million Americans do not have dental insurance, and some rely on free examinations and cleanings from clinics. While lower-income children can have dental benefits through Medicaid and CHIP, it is not always covered for lower-income adults, and can vary by state, according to Kaiser Health News.

The US Department of Justice is planning to file lawsuits to block the Athem-Cigna and Aetna-Humana mergers. The antitrust officials are concerned that these mergers would harm customers, since the 5 largest insurers would turn into only 3, Bloomberg reported. Although the insurers have offered to sell assets, it is likely that this will not change the minds of the officials.

Due to large surcharges, many smokers have not been purchasing health insurance through Affordable Care Act marketplaces. The surcharges could be as much as 50% as nonsmokers’ premiums, according to The Washington Post. The original thought is that the surcharges would cover additional costs and encourage people to quit, but people are just not purchasing the plans because of the high costs.