Sources: Unitedhealth To Enter Illinois Exchange –

Yelp helped NYC health officials find hundreds of cases of food borne illness | Fox News

intends to offer individual policies on the listen to this podcast Illinois health insurance exchange next year, according to sources familiar with the company’s plans. The decision by UnitedHealth, the nation’s largest and the state’s No. 2 insurer, has the potential to shake up the Illinois market, which was dominated in 2014 by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, the state’s dominant insurer. Blue Cross this year wrote about 92 percent of the policies bought on the Illinois health insurance exchange, the new marketplace created under the Affordable Care Act, according to state and company data. United’s decision to jump back into the Illinois market “absolutely could have a meaningful impact, but it all depends on what they bring to market,” said Leemore Dafny, a professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management who studies the health insurance market. “This is another potentially significant player entering the marketplace, and given that so few are in the exchanges today, I think that additional choice is going to be very welcome to potential enrollees,” Dafny said. United’s participation also could help lower rates for consumers, a key concern among the law’s supporters. While United would neither confirm nor deny its plans to offer policies in Illinois next year, a spokesman said the Minnesota-based insurer intends to increase its participation over time in exchanges nationwide. “In the near term we remain focused on the necessary first steps of this process, which include careful evaluation of exchanges on a state-by-state basis,” spokesman Kevin Shermach said. Five insurers offered plans on the Illinois health insurance marketplace in the first year, including Blue Cross, Humana, Aetna, Health Alliance and the startup Land of Lincoln Health. Each is expected to submit applications to offer plans again next year.
Sources: UnitedHealth to enter Illinois exchange –

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File) Reviewers on the online restaurant and business rating site, Yelp, helped New York City health officials find hundreds of unreported cases of possible food borne illnesses, health officials reported on Thursday. Researchers involved in a pilot project between the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Columbia University and Yelp trawled the site for reviews that included words like “sick,” “vomit,” “diarrhea” and “food poisoning,” between July 2012 and March 2013. ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT Roughly 294,000 Yelp reviews were analyzed, and researchers found 468 posts that were consistent with cases of recent food borne illnesses. Only 15 of those cases had been independently reported to the health department. “The results suggest that online restaurant reviews might help to identify unreported outbreaks of food borne illness and restaurants with deficiencies in food handling,” researchers wrote in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on Thursday. Further review into those nearly 500 cases led the department to launch three investigations into restaurant-related food poisoning outbreaks. The department found that 16 people were sickened by dishes such as shrimp and lobster cannelloni, and macaroni and cheese spring rolls because to improper cold food storage, bare-hand contact with the food and live roaches. The report noted, however, that the analysis was limited by requiring considerable time and resources reading reviews, sending emails and conducting interviews. Researchers also needed to make contact with reviewers and over 100 refused requests for follow-up interviews.


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