Health Insurer Profits; Plus 200 Million Vaccinations
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It’s earnings season, and the nation’s largest health insurance companies are reporting healthy profits. UnitedHealth Group’s first quarter profits of $5 billion beat analyst expectations and were a 40% increase over the same period last year, according to Fintech Zoom senior contributor Bruce Japsen. This week, the company’s Optum division also announced a new telehealth services program expansion across all 50 states. Anthem reported profits of $1.5 billion, a 9% increase over last year’s first quarter, a figure boosted by 1 million new members.
A new startup is looking to take a swing at the corporate giants by selling employers more affordable insurance benefits for their employees. New York-based Level, which started with dental and vision plans, closed a $27 million Series A round, Fintech Zoom assistant editor Eliza Haverstock reports. Its new product will allow businesses to pay a fixed amount each month and receive a refund at the end of the year for any unused benefit.
This $2 Billion Digital Health Startup Aims To Reverse Type 2 Diabetes
More than 88 million Americans have prediabetes and 30 million have diabetes, a chronic condition where the body has trouble regulating blood sugar. Virta Health is helping tens of thousands of people reduce or get off their diabetes medication and reverse the disease by restricting their carbohydrate intake and increasing fat consumption. The San Francisco-based startup announced a $133 million Series E round this week to flip traditional dietary wisdom on its head — and it has the clinical studies to back it up. Read more here.
Microsoft’s acquisition of Nuance reaffirms its interest in dominating the $11 trillion healthcare market.
The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association of health insurers is committing to reduce racial disparities in maternal health by 50% in five years.
An international team of scientists has created embryos that are part human, part monkey.
Today, the White House announced that it had reached President Biden’s goal of administering 200 million Covid-19 vaccines in his first 100 days in office. While at first it seemed like there were no vaccine appointments available, now experts worry a different problem will emerge: supply will outpace demand, thanks to vaccine hesitancy. An analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation says that in the next 15 to 28 days, everyone in the U.S. who wants a vaccine should be able to get one. But what happens after that? Public health professionals are working on ways to persuade the approximately 40% of Americans who are on the fence to get vaccinated.
To Beat Covid Variants, We Need To Find Them
Dr. Rodney Rohde, a virologist and clinical laboratory expert, explores the challenges of detecting coronavirus variants. Read more here.
Other Coronavirus News
The FDA released a scathing report of a shut-down Johnson & Johnson vaccine manufacturing facility in Baltimore saying that it was unsanitary and inadequate.
Disneyland Paris will become a mass vaccination site starting this Saturday.
After a 2020 surge fueled by the Covid-19 pandemic, American biotech companies’ stocks are now down.
Articles on social media have implied a link between the Covid-19 vaccine and herpes — but this isn’t the case.
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What Else We are Reading
Another Soda Tax Bill Dies. Another Win for Big Soda. (Kaiser Health News)
Biden Administration Ends Limits on Use of Fetal Tissue for Research (The New York Times)