Blues plan pays $20K for anti-obesity ideas; HHS issues more exchange grants;

> Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina has awarded $20,000 to three local companies for their solutions to help reduce obesity rates. The winning ideas include a smartphone app that uses bar code scanning to provide food nutritional value, a fitness program that lets fifth graders listen to podcasts while taking 20-minute walks and an incentive-based game that uses wrist accelerometers to spark exercise, the Triangle Business Journal reported. Article

> Hearing health professionals allege that UnitedHealth Group's program to provide low-cost hearing aids is cutting costs at their expense, reported Pioneer Press. "They're pretty much trying to provide the device and cut out the health care system," said John Coverstone, audiologist and president of the Minnesota Academy of Audiology. Hearing aids fitted by audiologists can cost up to $3,000 per ear, whereas UnitedHealth's devices cost about $479 per ear. Article

> United Healthcare might sue the Louisiana governor's administration after it rejected the insurer's challenge to losing a state employee contract. "We are assessing all options," Elizabeth Calzadilla-Fiallo, the company's public relations director for the Florida and Gulf States region, told the Baton Rouge Advocate. Article

> The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services gave $223 million in grants Thursday to five states--Arkansas, Colorado, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Washington, D.C.--to help them build health insurance exchanges, The Hill's Healthwatch reported. Article

And Finally… Got wine? Lose weight. Article

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