“Hearables” disrupt the wearable market, Humana invests $7 million in SDOH programs and more.

1. Reuters study shows diabetics more likely to postpone care

According to a U.S. study by Reuters, employees with diabetes are more likely to postpone check-ups when their employer has switched from a low-deductible plan to a high-deductible plan. This is due to higher out-of-pocket costs for the patient. The study also noted:

  • 34,000 diabetics who had health insurance with a $500 deductible or less switched to a plan with a $1,000 deductible or more because that’s the only plan their employer offered.
  • Diabetics on high-deductible plans who showed new symptoms waited longer to get treatment, get tested or undergo medical procedures than those on low-deductible plans.
  • Diabetics with life-threatening conditions and those that needed long-term follow-up had either a delay in care or an overall reduction in care.

2. Hearables revolutionize wearable technology

What do you get when you combine a headphone with smart technology and biometric, movement and proximity sensors? A new healthcare pathway for the future. Here’s why:

  1. Hearables can measure heart rate with built-in optical sensors, allowing physicians to monitor their patients’ health and deliver better care for cardiovascular conditions.
  2. Some models can detect falls and improve hearing when hearable technology is added to hearing aids.
  3. Hearables monitor activity and motivate users to meet their daily exercise goals. Different models play music, track activity, pace, and distance, and monitor heart rate and calories burnt.
  4. Some also measure body temperature at rest and during activity and recommend treatments.
  5. A few hearables perform virtual assistant tasks such as sending reminders for exercise, medication and doctor visits.

3. Exercise: The key to a younger body

According to a study of septuagenarians (people 70 to 79 years old), the muscles of older men and women who have exercised for years are not that much different than the muscles of healthy 25-year-olds. Researchers studied men and women who took up exercise back in the 1970s as a hobby. Scientists found many of them maintained their hobby for 50+ years by running, cycling, swimming or doing some other type of workout. Other studies have shown older athletes have healthier muscles, immune systems, brain function and hearts than those who lead less active lifestyles.

4. CVS finalizes merger with Aetna

The merger between CVS and Aetna should be finalized soon as both companies just received final regulatory approval. The $69 billion merger between the pharmacy giant and the national healthcare insurer will transform the patient healthcare experience. Both companies promise to deliver better care and coordination while passing along savings to consumers. The last state to give regulatory approval was New York. Before approving the merger, the New York State Department of Financial Services wanted to confirm that both companies would address consumer concerns and promise to reduce costs, enhance data privacy and improve healthcare for all New Yorkers.

5. Humana invests $7 million in SDOH programs

The Humana Foundation will donate $7 million to nine organizations that are committed to addressing Social Determinants of Health, specifically food security, social connection and financial stability. Recipients include the San Antonio Food Bank, San Antonio’s Adults Technology Services and the AARP Foundation in Broward County, Fla.

“The Humana Foundation’s new Strategic Community Investments will have a tangible impact on the health and well-being of communities across the US through our collaboration with local organizations across all sectors,” said Walter Woods, the Humana Foundation’s CEO. “We look forward to celebrating the successes of our partner organizations as they report targets and milestones of their projects in the coming year.”

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