What We're Reading: Anthem Reduces Premium Hikes; Second Gene Therapy; California Wildfires

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Anthem Will Reduce Planned Premium Hikes

After facing scrutiny from California regulators, Anthem Blue Cross will ease up 2 planned premium increases for 2018. According to California Healthline, the state’s regulators had challenged Anthem’s estimates for costs, which led to it planning a 40% premium increase for individuals and families. The insurer will shave 3 percentage points off its increase, which still makes its 37.3% increase the second highest hike among Covered California’s 11 insurers.

Second Gene Therapy Gets Endorsed

An FDA advisory committee has endorsed another gene therapy. The committee voted unanimously, 16-0, for a therapy to treat an inherited disorder that causes a progressive form of blindness, reported NPR. The FDA does not have to follow recommendations from advisory committees. If the therapy is approved, the cost is expected to be hundreds of thousands of dollars for each eye, but the manufacturer hasn’t yet said how much it would charge.

California Wildfires Strain Medical Services

The fires in California have forced hospital evacuations, destroyed medical offices, and increased the number of patients that need to be seen at the remaining hospitals and health centers that are open. The Los Angeles Times reported that one health center is only helping people who require urgent care, such as those struggling to breathe amid the poor air quality, people who hurt themselves fleeing, or those who left behind needed medications. In addition, medical personnel are still preparing for changing or worsening conditions in case the fires aren’t contained, the wind changes direction, or there is an earthquake.

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