The month of May has come and gone bringing with it a host of healthcare headlines. The Activate Health team has pulled together the most relevant industry stories to help healthcare marketing and communications professionals stay up to date on the latest trends and news. Read on for COVID-19 updates, details on mergers and acquisitions including Pfizer’s latest drug portfolio addition and other regulatory and research news.



COVID-19 public health emergency will go beyond mid-July
The public health emergency declaration which began early 2020 is expected to be renewed before it expires July 15, 2022. The extension will secure health insurance coverage for as many as 15 million Americans, including 6.7 million children, and provides hospitals and health systems with extra support. 



Advocate Aurora Health and Atrium Health announce merger

The new Advocate Health will have a footprint reaching across six states. It is the largest health system merger so far in 2022 and will combine the clinical expertise of both health systems, including medical research and population health – as well as advanced capabilities in data analytics and digital consumer infrastructure.

Centene divesting two pharmacy businesses for combined $2.8B 

Centene exits the pharmacy benefit management (PBM) space as they sell Magellan Rx and PANTHERx Rare to separate buyers. Each transaction is expected to be neutral to slightly accretive to Centene’s adjusted earnings in the 12-month period post-closing.

Pfizer to buy Biohaven for $11.6B

Pfizer has agreed to acquire migraine treatment maker Biohaven Pharmaceuticals in an all-cash deal as a move to increase its drug portfolio over the next decade before losing several key exclusivity patents.



Law prevented 2M unexpected bills in 2 months

Early analysis of The No Surprises Act shows the law prevented over 2 million unexpected out-of-network medical bills in the first two months of its implementation, according to AHIP and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

Final rule requires insurers to standardize plan options in the ACA marketplace

CMS seeks to strengthen the coverage offered by qualified health plans with the aim of ensuring consumers can more easily find affordable coverage on in advance of the open enrollment period beginning on November 1.

HHS repeals Trump-era sunset rule

HHS withdrew the sunset rule which would have required the department to review regulations every 10 years to prevent them from expiring. The rule faced considerable opposition its reversal will save the department almost $70 million over the next decade.

More than 100 organizations urge Congress to pave way for a national patient ID

Advocates asked legislators to end the ban on government support for a national ID, which would enable HHS to evaluate patient identification solutions and collaborate with the private sector to identify a national strategy that protects privacy and is cost-effective and secure.



Surgeon General advisory sounds warning on healthcare worker burnout, resignation

COVID-19 has compounded rates of depression and anxiety among healthcare workers and exacerbated long-standing barriers to workplace wellbeing. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects health care worker shortages will continue to increase.

US uninsured rate dipped to 9.2% in 2021

The US saw a small dip in the number of people uninsured between 2021 and 2020, according to early estimates from the National Health Interview Survey, 2021, released by the National Center for Health Statistics at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Disease treatment costs in US up 60% from 1999 to 2022

The average disease treatment costs in the US climbed 60% from 1999 to 2022 according to a report by The report found cost inflation, rising disease severity and changes to medical coding of diseases over time as three main factors contributing to the increase.