Alegeus Announces Partnership with Telehealth Provider HealthPoint Plus

Alegeus, the market leader in consumer-directed healthcare (CDH) solutions, today announced a partnership with HealthPoint Plus, a subscription-based telehealth provider that connects patients to state-licensed, board-certified doctors anytime, anywhere. Clients will have access to this robust telehealth offering through the Alegeus platform’s marketplace page.

HealthPoint Plus provides access to virtual urgent care and mental health appointments, coordinates prescriptions for local pickup, and shares visit information with a patient’s primary care physician for care continuity – all through an easy-to-use mobile app. HealthPoint Plus doctors can treat a wide range of illnesses and injuries, including sore throat, cold, flu, skin infections, gastrointestinal issues, cuts, abrasions, bug bites and more. According to a new study from the Annals of Internal Medicine, the majority of doctor visits conducted via telemedicine are an appropriate replacement for in-person care. Read More: Alegeus

Three States Plan to use Apple-Google Contact Tracing System

Three states plan to develop contact tracing apps using a system designed by Apple and Google. The two tech rivals rolled out their exposure notification API yesterday, which would give users an alert if they recently came into contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19.

The system uses a smartphone’s Bluetooth antenna to track when two people are less than six feet away from each other and saves that proximity data as an anonymous key. If someone tests positive for Covid-19, they would upload their positive test result into a health app, which would then alert everyone they had recently encountered. Read More: MedCity News

Poll: Medicare Advantage Members are Taking to Telehealth

A new poll found that roughly half of seniors are comfortable using telehealth to get healthcare, and those that do largely say they had a favorable experience.

The poll, conducted by Morning Consult and sponsored by the Better Medicare Alliance, comes as providers and insurers have started to embrace telehealth amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Read More: FierceHealthcare

Wearable Tech Can Spot Coronavirus Symptoms Before You Even Realize You’re Sick

Data from a wearable device can reveal coronavirus symptoms days before you even realize you’re sick, researchers have found in preliminary studies.

That means fitness trackers could be on their way to becoming sickness trackers.

The initial findings from two academic studies are a small step in the fight against the coronavirus, and a giant leap for wearable tech. If Fitbits, Apple Watches and Oura smart rings prove to be an effective early-warning system, they could help reopen communities and workplaces — and evolve from consumer tech novelties into health essentials. Read More: The Washington Post

Public Option Could Lower Health Insurance Premiums, But Would Not Substantially Raise Number of Insured

Offering a government-sponsored health plan with publicly determined payment rates to people who buy their own insurance could lower the cost of premiums, but on its own it is unlikely to substantially increase the overall number of people with coverage, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

Modeling four scenarios for adding a public option for individual coverage available nationwide, researchers found that premiums for public plans could be 10% to 27% lower than private insurance plans because of lower provider payment rates in the public option. Read More: RAND

The Future of Telehealth Is Uncertain

The CARES Act allows telehealth services to be included under HDHPs until December 31, 2021, and some are hopeful that will be extended.

Normally, if an HDHP waives the deductible for any services other than preventive care, it loses its status as a qualified HDHP and participants are not eligible to contribute or receive employer contributions to a health savings account (HSA). Section 3701 of the CARES Act created a temporary safe harbor allowing HDHPs to cover telehealth services and other remote care without cost to participants before their deductibles are met. Read More: PlanSponsor

Building Unlikely Partnerships in Health Care: Featuring Carina Edwards, Quil Health

Navigating today’s health care system can be chaotic. More than ever, providing the right information at the right time can make all the difference in improving patient outcomes and bridging the health IT gap. Podcast hosts Laura Evans and Matt Eyles spoke with Carina Edwards, CEO of Quil Health, about what it means to be in the business of helping people organize and navigate their health care. Hear More: AHIP

Click here to listen to the episode

Identifying, Tackling the Opioid Epidemic Among Employees

In order to curb the opioid epidemic among employees, companies need to begin by identifying who is at risk, according to a session presented on Wednesday during the Pharmacy Quality Alliance (PQA) 2020 Annual Meeting.

“In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, opioid addiction is especially deadly,” said Jamie Jenkins, PhD, senior program manager with Cotiviti, during the session.

Although managing multiple epidemics can present major challenges, the opioid crisis should not be forgotten, Jenkins said. She gave a case study in order to illustrate the steps a company should take. Read More: Phamacy Times

Cigna Expands Mental Health Network With Talkspace’s Virtual Therapy

Cigna is adding online therapy firm Talkspace to its growing menu of telehealth offerings as insurers expand further into offering mental health to their virtual provider networks.

Cigna said 14 million people enrolled in its employer-sponsored health plans have access to Talkspace’s network of licensed therapists. Talkspace links health plan enrollees with licensed therapists by video online and text, allowing patients to conduct private sessions on-demand in the comfort of their own homes, the companies said.

The use of online mental health therapy and psychiatric services has exploded amid the pandemic as Americans across the country face rising unemployment and the daily struggle of complying with “shelter in place” orders amid the surge of cases of the Coronavirus strain Covid-19. On Thursday, Talkspace said the deal with Cigna’s commercial health plan clients will bring “the total number of insured U.S. lives covered for Talkspace to a milestone of 40 million.” Read More: Forbes

Contact Tracing, Outreach to High Risk Populations Gives Medica Employees the Opportunity to Demonstrate Their Community Commitments

 

Medica employees are helping to reduce the impact of COVID-19 by working with the Minnesota Department of Health as COVID-19 contact tracers.

Contact tracers work with individuals who have tested positive for the virus to identify their contacts who may now be at risk. It is part of Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz’s strategy to limit the exponential growth of the disease while safely reopening parts of the economy.

Medica employees participating in the effort attend an online training program and work as contract tracers three days a week during their regular working hours. An average call takes about 45 minutes. Medica will support the program for three weeks starting May 26. Read More: Medica