Trending News Today: Skinny Health Plans Draw Criticism

Top news of the day from across the healthcare landscape.

For the first time, alternative “skinny” health care plans are being sold to Americans through brokers and advertisements. Insurance experts are warning patients about these very low-cost plans that claim to be Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliant, according to Kaiser Health News. However, these plans may not provide patients with proper coverage and may not prevent a fine under the ACA’s individual mandate, according to the article. Additionally, legal and policy experts told Kaiser that these plans may not be licensed to be sold in each state, which is required.

Enrollment in ACA plans through slowed in the third week of open enrollment with 800,000 individuals signing up, which was down 75,000 from the second week, according to Reuters. However, the third week of enrollment brought 220,323 new customers compared with 208,397 in the second week, according to the article. Despite efforts to dismantle the health law, the Congressional Budget Office projects that 11 million Americans will enroll in 2018, an increase of 1 million from 2017. During the first 3 weeks of enrollment, 2.28 million Americans signed up for health plans through the website, but the estimate does not include sign ups through state-run websites, according to Reuters.

New research shows that Fusobacterium nucleatum is found in half of colon tumors and travels when the cancer metastasizes, according to The New York Times. It is currently unclear whether the bacterium plays a role in cancer development, but the study authors said there may be a link. The authors discovered that colon cancer that metastasized to the liver kept the Fusobacterium infection in both humans and mice. While treatment with metronidazole killed the bacteria and resulted in slowed tumor growth in mice, the authors caution that the antibiotics may also kill important bacteria, according to the Times.