In The News – Oct. 8, 2012

In health news today, more fungal meningitis cases reported in Minnesota; Medica health plans rank at the top according to U.S. News; Abbott sells CT scans; and UnitedHealth Group acquires the biggest health care provider in Brazil.

Third fungal meningitis case reported in state (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Fungal meningitis linked to steroid injections for chronic pain was confirmed Sunday in a third Minnesota woman in her 40s, a state Department of Health spokesman said.

Nationwide, seven people have died of the illness, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta reported Sunday. More than 90 cases have been confirmed nationwide.

Steroid products produced by the New England Compounding Center of Framingham, Mass., have been linked to all of the cases, the CDC said.   Read More…

Medica Individual and Family Plans Rank Tops in Minnesota by U.S. News (HeraldOnline.Com)

Medica health insurance offerings for individuals and families are highly rated in a ranking by U.S. News published October 4, 2012. Plans were scored and assigned a rating of one to five stars. Some highlights from the ranking are:

  • Of the 18 individual plans rated at five stars, Medica had the most with 13, or 72 percent of the total.
  • 77 percent (24 of 31) of Medica individual plans rated by U.S. News achieved either a four-star or five-star rating, highest among Minnesota’s major health plans.   Read More…

Abbott selling scans in fight vs. heart disease (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

If a $100 scan of your heart and the arteries around it could show hidden heart disease, or at least the early warning for future heart disease, would you want to have it done? Even if you feel fine?

About 28,000 people in Minnesota have embraced the opportunity since 1999, when Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis became the first in the Twin Cities to offer CT scans that spot calcium in coronary arteries.   Read More…

UnitedHealth Group, Amil to Combine (DailyFinance.Com)

UnitedHealth Group (NYS: UNH) and Amil Participações S.A. (BM&FBOVESPA: AMIL3) announced today that the companies have agreed to merge, bringing together two leading organizations with the broad scale, distinctive resources and advanced technology to help modernize the performance of the health systems and serve the health care needs of consumers in their markets in the Americas.

Amil is Brazil’s largest health care company, providing health and dental benefits, hospital and clinical services, and advanced care management resources to more than 5 million people.  Read More…