Trending News Today: New Tool Improves Healthcare Plan Comparison for Consumers

Top news of the day from across the healthcare landscape.

A strategy used by insurers to reduce premiums limits the amount of providers included in a plan’s network. A new tool from healthcare.gov will allow consumers to determine how narrow a plan’s provider network is, and compare it with other plans. The tool will designate plans as “basic,” “standard,” or “broad,” based on how many primary care providers, pediatricians, and hospitals are included in the network, according to Kaiser Health News.

New research suggests that opioid use disorder affects a person’s parenting instincts, which could result in harm to their child. In non-addicted brains, the sight of a child will kick in instincts to care for them, but in addicted brains, this did not occur, according to The New York Times. However, if the adult with opioid use disorder underwent treatment with naltrexone, the response from the brain returned to normal.

Patients who have had an open heart surgery since 2012 could be at risk of a deadly bacterial infection from contaminated devices used during the procedure, according to The Washington Post. These infections may cause illness or death, and patients may not develop symptoms for months after exposure. The medical device, a heart-cooler unit, is used to keep patient’s organs circulating at a specific temperature, but may have been contaminated with nontuberculous mycobacterium.