Payer Roundup–Humana confirms layoffs; Medicaid expansion linked to lung cancer survival

Below is a round-up of payer-centric news for the week of Jan. 15., 2024

Humana announces 'limited' workforce reductions

Humana laid off members of its workforce, the Louisville Courier Journal first reported earlier this week.

The reductions occurred last week. In 2023, more than 1,000 employees were laid off and SeniorBridge home care facilities were closed permanently, according to reports at the time.

"The impacted positions represented a small percentage of our total workforce and were geographically dispersed across multiple locations," said Mark Taylor, director of corporate communications, in a statement shared with Fierce Healthcare.

Link found between Medicaid expansion and reduced lung cancer mortality

Medicaid expansion may be associated with higher rates of survival for non-small cell lung cancer after surgery.

Of almost 15,000 adults aged 45 to 64 in the National Cancer Database from March 2021 to September 2023, a "significant reduction" in 30-day and 90-day mortality was found, according to a JAMA Network Open study.

In Medicaid expansion states, 30-day mortality decreased from 0.97% to 0.26% and 90-day mortality decreased from 32.63% to 1.32%. The difference in non-Medicaid expansion states was not considered statistically significant.

So far, 41 states including Washington D.C. have expanded Medicaid coverage to all adults, as KFF tracks.

Bright Health rebrands to NeueHealth

Bright Health, an insurtech that recently sold off its Medicare Advantage business to Molina Healthcare, is relocating its corporate headquarters from Minneapolis to Florida and changing its name to NeueHealth.

It will trade under NEUE on the New York Stock Exchange, effective Jan. 29. NeueHealth serves more than 500,000 consumers with more than 3,000 providers across the country.

The company said the transition would occur over the coming months.

Contraceptive use higher among MA enrollees

A recent study in Health Affairs found that contraceptive use was higher among Medicare Advantage enrollees than traditional fee-for-service members, according to Medicare and Optum data.

In Medicaid, 25% of enrollees had a contraceptive claim in 2018, compared to 16.3% of MA enrollees and 14.3% of traditional Medicare members. The authors inferred that Medicare claims are lower because coverage is not mandated and people could be paying out-of-pocket.

"Relative to traditional Medicare, the probability of long-acting reversible contraception was more than three times higher in Medicare Advantage, and the probability of tubal sterilization was more than ten times higher," the authors said.

The study noted that contraceptives can be used for pregnancy prevention, menstrual regulation, menorrhagia and endometriosis, and added that removing cost-sharing would relieve financial pressure on members.

From 2017 to 2019, 65% of women in the U.S. used contraceptives, according to data from the CDC.