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Daily Archives: December 7, 2013

Obamacare Error Rate Means Many May Not Be Signed Up For Coverage

The administration said that 25 percent of people who signed up in October and November and 10 percent of Dec. enrollees could have errors in their forms.

The New York Times: Enrollment Errors Put Medical Coverage at Risk
The Obama administration said Friday that the enrollment records for roughly a quarter of all the people who signed up for health insurance on its website in October and November could contain errors, raising questions about whether those consumers would get coverage in time to pay for their medical care next month. Even now, the administration said, it may be sending incomplete or erroneous information to insurers for one in every 10 people who enroll. The disclosure added yet another complication to a long list of technical troubles that have hampered the rollout of President Obama’s health care law (Pear, 12/6).

McClatchy: One In Four HealthCare.gov Enrollees May Not Be Properly Signed Up
Julie Bataille, communications director for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services(CMS), said officials believe nine out of ten 834s generated since December 1 are error-free. But those fixes were too late for tens of thousands of people whose faulty enrollment information might keep them from gaining coverage on January 1, 2014 (Pugh, 12/6)

Los Angeles Times: Roughly 1 In 10 Obamacare Enrollments Still Flawed, Officials Say
The problems with transmitting information from the website to insurers raise the prospect that some consumers who believe they are enrolled in coverage will discover that insurers have no record of their application. Insurers have seen various types of errors in the 834 transmissions, including garbled or incorrect information, duplicate forms and, in some cases, missing forms (Hennessey and Levey, 12/6). 

The Washington Post: Administration Reports Reports 25% Error Rate On Obamacare Error Rate On Obamacare Forms From October, November 
Bataille emphasized that the 25 percent error rate for October and November — the exchange’s problem-ridden first two months — and the smaller current number are preliminary, drawn from a sample of enrollments. She said that more precise numbers will not be available until the CMS and insurers finish cross-checking enrollment lists to make sure that health plans know who has signed up for coverage. Flawed enrollment records have been a major concern to insurers selling health plans through the federal health exchange — and it has important implications for consumers (Goldstein and Eilperin, 12/6).

Politico: CMS Gives Early Numbers On Health File Errors
Karen Ignagni, president and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans, said Friday afternoon that progress was evident. “The new process put in place this week is making a difference,” she said. “The enrollment files are getting better, but there is more work to do to ensure consumers are covered.” But since coverage won’t take effect until the first premium is paid, Bataille stressed that people who have questions about their coverage should reach out directly to insurers (Norman, 12/6).

The Wall Street Journal: HealthCare.gov Had 1-in-4 Oct-Nov Error Rate With Key Enrollment Form
The 834 form is supposed to contain a person’s name, address, contact information and Social Security number. Insurance companies use the information to bill consumers for their portion of the payment and to formally enroll people in insurance plans. If the 834 isn’t sent or has errors, insurers can’t complete the enrollment. The CMS is contacting hundreds of thousands of consumers who have tried to enroll for health coverage but aren’t enrolled. Ms. Bataille … said 3.7 million people have used HealthCare.gov so far this week (Corbett Dooren, 12/6).

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New Problems Hit D.C., Md. Health Insurance Exchanges

New outlets report that in Washington, some people trying to get coverage are being scammed. In Maryland, the executive director resigns under fire. Both are state-run exchanges.

The Washington Post: D.C.’s Online Health Exchange has “Hundreds” Of Problem Applications
The District’s online health-insurance exchange is grappling with “hundreds” of problematic applications from shoppers unable to enroll in health plans because of system error messages, an exchange spokesman said Friday. Exchange officials are in the process of identifying the account holders and contacting them, said Richard Sorian, a spokesman for DC Health Link. Most of the problems appear to stem from duplicate accounts that shoppers may have created inadvertently (Sun, 12/6).

Politico: Scam Targets D.C. Health Link 
The D.C. insurance exchange where thousands of Hill aides are shopping has confirmed that an outside scammer is redirecting customers to a fraudulent website. … The fraud is widespread enough that they’re considering adding disclaimers to its website to warn users against divulging their check card or PIN numbers. … One Senate staffer said that after trying and failing to log onto the website multiple times, he was redirected to a separate page where he was asked for his check card number and PIN. After calling customer service, he was told the web page was a scam (Winfield Cunningham and Everett, 12/6).

The Hill: Scam Reported To DC Health Exchange
“It’s one of those phishing expeditions that unfortunately arise when our website center is being frequented by the public. It’s not something internal to our system. We’re investigating to see if we can find out what’s going on,” Sorian said in a phone interview Friday to The Hill. … Capitol Hill staffers must sign up for insurance through the ObamaCare exchange by Monday if they want the federal government to continue paying part of their premiums (Shabad, 12/6).

Roll Call: Phishing Scam Reported for DC Health Link
Phishing involves deceiving users into thinking they are providing personal information to a secure entity, when they’re really giving it directly to scammers. CQ Roll Call received news of the scam attempt from one staffer who encountered the fraudulent site after repeated failed attempts to log in to what the user believed to be the legitimate system. “I tried the ‘forgot password’ function. After about 15 attempts with that, I was finally taken to a forgot password page. On that page I was asked for my check card number and my ATM pin,” the congressional aide said (Lesniewski and Hess, 12/6).

Meanwhile, in Maryland —

The Associated Press: Director of Md. Health Insurance Board Resigns 
Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, board chairman and secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, announced Rebecca Pearce’s resignation late Friday. The exchange is responsible for the website through which Maryland residents can sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (12/6).

Baltimore Sun: Health Exchange Director Resigns
The exchange’s rocky start and low enrollment have become ammunition for political attacks on Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, who was tasked by the governor with overseeing the state’s implementation of the federal health care reform law. As state lawmakers grilled Sharfstein on Nov. 26 on why the health exchange was still broken, Pearce was on a week’s vacation in the Cayman Islands. During the trip, she could not be reached by phone, email or text, officials confirmed Friday (Cox, 12/6).

WBAL: Executive Director of the MD Health Exchange Resigns
In a weekly report issued Friday afternoon,, the Maryland Health Benefits Exchange says 3껖 people have enrolled in private insurance plans through the exchange as of last Saturday. That’s an increase of about 700 people over last week’s report. State officials say technical glitches are still being fixed, but 69,961 people have set up accounts with the exchange, making them eligible to buy insurance (Lang, 12/6).

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Effectiveness of Marinomed's antiviral nasal spray confirmed in clinical trial for common cold

Marinomed Biotechnologie GmbH has announced that new clinical data confirmed the effectiveness of a Carragelose®-based nasal spray in the therapy of common cold. The data, generated in collaboration with researchers from the Department of Otolaryngology at the Medical University of Vienna, were published in the international medical journal Respiratory Research.

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Pupil size adjusts when we imagine light or dark settings

It is common knowledge that our pupils adjust in size when exposed to light or dark enviornments. But new research published in the journal Psychological Science suggests that the size of our pupils also changes when we imagine these surroundings, even when our eyes are not directly exposed to light and dark.Researchers from the University of Oslo in Norway say their findings may be useful in studying the mental experiences of patients who suffer from severe neurological disorders.

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Researchers investigate use of pig kidneys for human transplant

According to the National Kidney Foundation, around ɀ,645 patients in the US are awaiting kidney transplants as a result of kidney failure. However, less than 17,000 kidney transplantations are carried out each year due to a shortage of donors. But a new option could soon be available – in the form of pig kidneys.Researchers from the University of Florida are investigating the use of a pig kidney as a “scaffold” on which to build a human kidney by injecting it with human stem cells.

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Origin of inherited gene mutation causing early-onset Alzheimer's

The age and origin of the E280A gene mutation responsible for early-onset Alzheimer’s in a Colombian family with an unusually high incidence of the disease has been traced to a single founder dating from the 16th century.Kenneth S. Kosik, Harriman Professor in Neuroscience at UC Santa Barbara and co-director of the campus’s Neuroscience Research Institute (NRI), conducted the study. The findings appear in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia.”Some mutations just increase your risk, but this mutation is not a risk,” Kosik said.

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Genetic breast cancer screening may benefit those at intermediate risk

Archimedes Inc., a healthcare modeling and analytics company, has announced results of a simulated clinical trial which found that the seven single-nucleotide polymorphisms (7SNP) genetic test for breast cancer was most cost effective when used to guide MRI screenings for patients found to have an intermediate lifetime risk of developing the disease. The study, “Cost-effectiveness of a genetic test for breast cancer risk,” appeared online in the peer-reviewed journal Cancer Prevention Research.

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When it comes to teen sleep problems, social ties may be more important than biology

Medical researchers point to developmental factors, specifically the decline of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, as an explanation for why children get less sleep as they become teenagers. But a new study suggests that social ties, including relationships with peers and parents, may be even more responsible for changing sleep patterns among adolescents.”My study found that social ties were more important than biological development as predictors of teen sleep behaviors,” said David J.

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Despite fewer friends, less autonomy, blacks are happier at work than whites

Despite working in more routine and less autonomous jobs, having fewer close friends at work, and feeling less supported by their coworkers, blacks report significantly more positive emotions in the workplace than whites, according to a new study in the December issue of Social Psychology Quarterly.”We were surprised by this,” said lead author Melissa M. Sloan, an assistant professor of interdisciplinary social sciences and sociology at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee.

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Fundamental differences identified between human cancers and genetically engineered mouse models of cancer

Researchers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA have taken a closer look at existing mouse models of cancer, specifically comparing them to human cancer samples. These genetically engineered mouse models (which usually either overexpress a cancer-causing gene – or “oncogene” – or carry a deletion for a “tumor suppressor” gene) have been extensively used to understand human cancer biology in studies of drug resistance, early detection, metastasis, and cancer prevention, as well as for the preclinical development of novel targeted therapeutics.

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