Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.
Premera Blue Cross has reversed its exit plan from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace, and will now offer plans next year in 1 of 2 Washington state counties, according to The Wall Street Journal. Additionally, the nonprofit insurer Medica announced Monday that it made a regulatory filing to offer plans throughout Iowa next year. For 2018, Iowa seemed to be at risk of having zero exchange insurers in most, if not all, of its counties, the WSJ reported. Medica said in a statement that it was seeking an average rate increase of 43.5%.
The Supreme Court ruled Monday that out-of-state residents cannot sue California-based Bristol-Myers Squibb for adverse events related to the manufacturer’s blood thinner Plavix. According to The Washington Post, the justices ruled in an 8 to 1 vote that the claims lacked strong enough evidence connecting the claims against the drug manufacturer and the company’s ties to the state.
New study findings suggest that yoga may be an acceptable alternative to physical therapy for lower back pain, NPR reported. For the study, investigators recruited 320 racially diverse and predominantly low-income individuals in the Boston area with chronic low back pain. Participants were divided into 3 groups: a weekly yoga class for 12 weeks; 15 physical therapy visits; and receiving an educational book and newsletters. For 40 weeks, participants in the yoga group were assigned to either drop-in classes or home practice, whereas the physical therapy group was assigned to either “booster sessions” or home practice. At the start of the study, approximately 70% of patients were taking some form of pain medication, according to NPR. At the end of 3 months, the percentage of yoga and physical therapy participants who were still taking pain killers dropped to approximately 50%. Pain medication use did not decrease among participants in the education group. The authors noted that they are not recommending patients to go to just any yoga class, and that their research helped pinpoint poses and relaxation techniques that were most helpful and safe.