Trending News Today: In-Depth Questions Necessary to Steer Patients to Opioid Addiction Treatment

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

More than 300,000 individuals have signed-up for Affordable Care Act (ACA) health plans within the first few weeks of open enrollment for 2018, a significant uptick compared with previous years, according to The New York Times. While the surge in sign-ups is encouraging, those who enroll early typically have the greatest health care needs. Additionally, since the open enrollment was cut in half, weekly enrollment would have to more than double sign-ups to outpace previous years and prevent an increase in the uninsured rate, according to the Times.

The American Academy of Actuaries recently warned lawmakers that repealing the ACA individual mandate through tax reform legislation could increase premiums and insurer withdrawals, according to The Hill. If the inventive for insurance is eliminated, healthy patients may choose to drop out of plans. Without these patients offsetting the costs of sicker patients, insurers may drop out, leaving Americans with less options, according to the article.

Simply asking patients whether or not they use non-prescriptions opioids may not be enough to change risky behavior, according to NPR. Hospital staff at Christiana Care Health System began asking more in-depth questions about opioid use to quickly treat patients experiencing withdrawal. When identified, patients with opioid use disorder are treated with Suboxone and paired with addiction counselors, according to the article. Approximately two-thirds of patients enrolled into drug treatment, which highlights a potential approach for fighting the opioid epidemic, NPR reported.

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