Obesity costs state Medicaid programs $8 billion a year; Two Michigan insurers agree to merge;

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> Severe obesity among American adults costs state Medicaid programs almost $8 billion a year, costs that are likely to increase as states expand their Medicaid programs amid enhanced coverage of weight-loss therapies, according to a new study published in Health AffairsStudy abstract

> Health Alliance Plan and HealthPlus of Michigan have agreed to merge, a deal that if approved would create one of the largest health insurers in the state. Announcement

> In a letter sent to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) demanded to know how federal officials are dealing with the string of failures of consumer operated and oriented plans, The Hill reports. Article

Health Finance News

> As hospitals continue the shift to population health management, they face increasing costs in terms of the infrastructure required to make the transition. Article

> Payment recoupments as a result of the work of recovery RACs dropped dramatically last year, thanks in part to pushback from the hospital sector--and they're about to drop even more. Article

And finally… If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Article

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