Get county-level data to report on competition in insurance marketplace

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of, coordinates social media efforts of AHCJ and assists with the editing and production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

downloading-and-uploading-data-iconAs large insurers, such as United Healthcare, Humana and Aetna, drop out of the marketplace, consumers are left with fewer and fewer choices, especially in certain geographic areas.

Sarah KliffSarah Frostenson and Soo Oh of Vox gathered the data to show us just how little competition there will be:

“There are currently 687 counties on the marketplace with just one insurer signed up to sell in 2017 — nearly four times the 182 counties that had one insurer this year.”

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Treatment offers an alternative to ‘drill and fill’

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health, curating related material at She welcomes questions and suggestions on oral health resources at

Photo: Jan Fidler via Flickr

Photo: Jan Fidler via Flickr

A study presented this summer at an international dental conference has added to growing evidence that topical applications of silver diamine fluoride can serve as an effective treatment for tooth decay.

The paper, presented at the meeting of the International Association of Dental Research in South Korea, concluded that annual application the compound stopped the progress of root decay among community-dwelling elders living in Hong Kong. Continue reading

Tuning in to health care with the podcast boom

Joanne Kenen

About Joanne Kenen

Joanne Kenen, (@JoanneKenen) the health editor at Politico, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health reform and curates related material at She welcomes questions and suggestions on health reform resources and tip sheets at

Photo: Matthew Keefe via Flickr

Photo: Matthew Keefe via Flickr

Podcasts are all the rage, so we’ve been collecting some health policy-related ones for you. Some of these regularly tackle health policy, some dip into it once in a while (but smartly) and others are geared more toward science and medicine.

Some of you who contributed suggestions noted that a few popular general podcasts (such as On Media and Fresh Air) aren’t health-focused but sometimes have good episodes, respectively, on media coverage and interviews with authors of health books. Continue reading

AHCJ webcast to examine drug prices, other cost challenges

Susan Heavey

About Susan Heavey

Susan Heavey, (@susanheavey) a Washington, D.C.-based journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on social determinants of health and curates related material at She welcomes questions and suggestions on resources and tip sheets at

Photo" Phillip Bradshaw via Flickr

Photo” Phillip Bradshaw via Flickr

Mylan’s price hike for its EpiPen allergy medication fueled an Internet storm this week, with consumers and U.S. legislators expressing outrage over its decision to raise the price about 400% since 2007 to as much as $500 or more. The backlash appeared tied in part to timing as U.S. children head back to school, with parents of those needing EpiPens to treat allergic reactions coming to grips with the hefty price tag.

The incident brought echoes of another drug price hike – the 2015 increase by Turing Pharmaceutical’s malaria and HIV medicine Darapim, another move that brought scrutiny by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee of the company’s chief executive officer. Continue reading

New tip sheet helps reporters shape Medicare coverage

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in Kaiser Health News, The, New America Media, and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health, Media & Policy at Hunter College in New York City, and co-produces HealthStyles for WBAI-FM/Pacifica Radio.

Philip Moeller

Philip Moeller

Why are the nuances of Medicare benefits so complicated? While journalists may never find the answer to this question, they can be more aware of this challenge as they shape their reporting.

Medicare’s arcane and overlapping regulations mean consumers often lose or are penalized for benefits for which they are entitled, according to journalist Philip Moeller, who writes about aging and related issues for PBS NewsHour and Money. Continue reading