Amazon accepts payment from health savings and flexible savings accounts, Centene plans to purchase WellCare, and more.

1. County in NY bans unvaccinated kids from public places

Officials in Rockland County, New York have banned unvaccinated minors from public places to contain a measles outbreak. The outbreak began in October 2018 after an unvaccinated resident became infected while visiting Israel and brought the virus home.

“We’re not punishing the people who are doing the right thing already and following the rules,” said John Lyon, the county’s director of strategic communications. “We just want to encourage everyone to do the right thing so we can stop this outbreak. The step is extremely unusual. [We] don’t believe it’s been done anywhere in the country before.”

The measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine prevents the spread of the disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends children receive the first dose between 12 to 15 months of age and the second dose between ages 4 and 6.

2. “Wired to Wear” exhibit unveils newest wearables

Imagine robotic underwear that helps seniors move around or a T-shirt that performs electrocardiograms. Those are just a couple of the items on display at the “Wired to Wear” exhibit at Chicago’s Museum of Science Industry.

“Technology’s getting really personal,” said Kathleen McCarthy, the museum’s head curator and director of collections. “It’s going to be in the stuff that’s really familiar to us—our clothes.”

Other wearables on display include a defibrillator vest and a tiny device that measures exposure to ultraviolet light. The exhibit will run through spring 2020.

3. CVS Health pledges money to support smoke-free college campuses

The CVS Health Foundation has committed $1.4 million to 82 U.S. colleges and universities to help them adopt 100 percent smoke- and tobacco-free campuses. The campaign includes partnerships with the American Cancer Society and Truth Initiative.

“A critical goal for us in building healthier communities across the country is reducing tobacco-use, which remains one of the leading causes of preventable death in this country,” said Eileen Howard Boone, president of the CVS Health Foundation. “By helping more colleges and universities explore and execute on tobacco-free policies, we’re able to positively influence the number of new college-age smokers and get one step closer to our goal of seeing the first tobacco-free generation.”

4. Amazon accepts HSA and FSA payments

Next time you buy medical supplies from Amazon, have your HSA or FSA debit card handy. Amazon now accepts payment from health savings and flexible savings accounts. Just shop on the Amazon FSA Marketplace. That’s where you’ll find FSA-eligible products including baby items, hearing aids, knee braces, cold and allergy medications and first aid supplies.

But what if you need a prescription filled? You’ll have to wait, but maybe not for long. Industry experts speculate that Amazon may move into the prescription drug market in the future. The online retailer acquired PillPack, an internet pharmacy that offers home delivery of prescription and over-the-counter medications, in June 2018.

5. Centene to purchase Florida’s WellCare

Major insurer Centene has announced its intent to purchase WellCare, a smaller, publicly held plan based in Florida. The deal would create a healthcare giant that would offer private health plans under Medicare and Medicaid. The two companies combined would cover 22 million people in all 50 states and earn revenues close to $100 billion in 2019.

“We will be a leader in Medicaid, Medicare and the health insurance markets,” said Michael F. Neidorff, Centene’s chief executive.

The acquisition should close by June 30, 2020, pending approval from regulators and stakeholders for both companies.

Share This