Trending News Today: Non-Invasive Colon Cancer Tests Improves Detection

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

The Obama administration revealed yesterday that in 2017, the cost of health insurance under the Affordable Care Act is expected to increase an average of 22%, according to NPR. However, since federal subsidies will also increase, there will be few people who will actually have to pay the full costs after the rate increases to get insurance. Enrollment for health coverage opens November 1, 2016, and individuals will need to choose a plan by December 15, 2016. Even though the average premiums are increasing on the benchmark health plans, more than 70% of individuals buying insurance could get a health plan that costs less than $75 a month for 2017, according to the government. In order for individuals to receive the best deal, they would need to pick a low-cost plan with limited benefits, and also take advantage of the available subsidies, reported NPR.

The fecal immunochemical blood test (FIT) test was found to be an effective non-invasive colon cancer screening. The FIT test showed better results detecting cancer than the gFOBT test, which requires samples from 3 different bowel movements. According to NPR, a task force evaluated the evidence for the FIT test by examining 19 studies. Researchers found that FIT was able to identify individuals with cancer 79% of the time, and those without cancer 94% of the time. For the FIT test to be successful, individuals will have to repeat it on a yearly basis. This means a physician is required to administer the test each year and ensure that if the test is positive, that the patient gets a colonoscopy.

Although human error is a natural part of life, an in-depth review by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) found that online provider directories for private Medicare Advantage plans had a substantial amount of errors. Almost half of the 5832 physicians listed in the directories for 54 Medicare Advantage plans checked last fall had incorrect information, reported Kaiser Health News. Although CMS has not issued any fines, penalties could eventually be put in place that result in up to $25,000 a day in fines per beneficiary, or bans on new enrollment and marketing.