In the News: Jan 4–11

Minority of Women Are at Healthy Prepregnancy Weight

The CDC released a study on normal prepregnancy weight trends in 48 states, as well as New York City and Washington DC, from 2011 to 2015, reporting on the prevalence of underweight, normal weight, overweight and obese body mass index categories among women with a live birth by jurisdiction. The analysis found that the prevalence of normal prepregnancy weight declined during this time, lowering to 45% total in 2015 and ranging from 37.7% in Mississippi to 52.2% in DC. Underweight, overweight and obese prevalence was also reported at 3.6%, 25.8% and 25.6%, respectively.

The authors discuss the implications and adverse outcomes associated with entering pregnancy at a nonnormal weight, such as preterm delivery, small or large for gestational age births, gestational diabetes, and childhood obesity.  Listen to Sg2 experts discuss strategic approaches to high-risk pregnancy in the webinar: Women’s Health Update 2017: Defining and Capturing High Risk Pregnancy.

Social Determinants Explain Community Health Variations

A recent Moody’s Analytics report explored the connections between social determinants of health and observed variations in population health across nearly every county in the US. The study was prepared for the Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) Association and utilized the BCBS Health Index to identify select health conditions with the highest degree of impact on its commercially insured population (over 40 million covered lives).

Moody’s analysis demonstrated that chronic physical health conditions—such as high cholesterol, coronary artery disease, hypertension and diabetes—correlated highly with social, demographic and behavioral county-level factors; in fact, social factors explain 74% of the county-by-county variation observed for physical conditions. In contrast, mental health conditions were not well explained by social factors, while other conditions, such as cancer, may have a mixed relationship with social factors and are driven by a combination of environment, genetics and various unique diagnosis factors.

The report indicates that chronic physical conditions are highly impacted by social factors and strongly correlate with overall population health. These diseases account for a disproportionate and growing portion of health care utilization and costs and are increasingly becoming a strategic priority for health systems. To learn more about how your organization can develop a chronic care strategy, read the Sg2 Expert Insight: Sg2 Strategic Countdown: Developing a Market-Driven Chronic Care Strategy.

ACA Marketplace Business Strategies Differ Amid Federal Uncertainty

A recent Commonwealth Fund analysis looked at insurer participation in federally run and state-based Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplaces from 2014 to 2018, finding that while many insurers exited the 2018 ACA marketplaces due to federal uncertainly, remaining insurers have looked to alternatives to capture health marketplace enrollment, including association health plans and short-term limited duration policies.

State-based ACA marketplaces have worked closely with health insurers to secure their participation in 2018, despite federal uncertainty. For example, states using the marketplace run by the federal government lost between 1 to 4 insurers from 2017 to 2018, which differed from state-based marketplaces, where 9 of 17 states maintained the same number of insurers.

While the federal uncertainty surrounding health care regulation and policy will likely continue to disrupt markets in 2018, health care organizations can identify opportunities and leverage points for growth amid this uncertainty. To learn more about the trends and wildcards to watch in 2018, register for the highly anticipated Sg2 webinar: 2018: The Year Ahead.

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