As we close out the month of October, our team at Activate Health has compiled another recap of top headlines impacting the healthcare industry and healthcare marketing and communications professionals.

This month, rapidly changing guidance about COVID-19 booster shots kept the pandemic in the headlines. Home healthcare and virtual health remain hot topics (and notable trends) with big acquisition and investment moves from retail giants Best Buy and Walgreens, as well as advocacy and legislative efforts from some of the nation’s largest and most respected health systems.



FDA authorizes Moderna and J&J Covid vaccine boosters, permits ‘mix and match’

Updated emergency use authorization from the FDA permits Moderna and J&J booster vaccines, as well allows the administration of boosters that may differ from the type of vaccination a person received initially.

White House preps to deliver millions of kids’ COVID vaccines to pediatricians, children’s hospitals and pharmacies

Pending regulatory authorization, providers, pharmacies and community organizations are being encouraged to start preparing to order and administer COVID shots to children ages five to 11.



Retail giant Best Buy snaps up remote monitoring company Current Health

Building on other recent acquisitions in the healthcare space, the retail company seeks to bolster its digital health portfolio following heightened telehealth usage during the pandemic. Current Health is a home care and remote monitoring platform.

Intelerad acquires competitor Ambra Health to form $1.7B enterprise imaging giant

Ambra Health is Intelerad Medical Systems’ fourth deal this year. The medical imaging software company will pay $250 million for Ambra Health, and the combined company now manages over 10 billion medical images annually.



CMS releases MA, Part D plan quality rankings

2022 Medicare Advantage (MA) quality rankings, released by CMS in advance of Medicare Open Enrollment, show that 68% of MA plans that include prescription drug coverage have at least four stars, which is an increase from 49% in 2021.

Lower premiums, more choices on Obamacare exchanges for 2022 as Democrats battle to extend generous subsidies

Average 2022 silver plan premiums are down 3% a month for participating exchange states, according to CMS. The number of insurers offering plans through the marketplace is up by 32 compared to last year, bringing the total to around 213 insurers.

Walgreens doubles down on primary care, home health with major investments in VillageMD, CareCentrix

“Walgreens Health” encompasses the companies expanded primary, post-acute and home care capabilities, which includes a recent $5.2 billion investment in VillageMD, making Walgreens the majority owner, and $330 million invested in CareCentrix.

Kaiser Permanente, Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins and Other Form ‘Advanced Care at Home Coalition’

The newly formed advocacy entity seeks to back legislation in support of expanding home care beyond the expiry date of the public health emergency this December. The coalition includes some of the most notable healthcare organizations in the country, including founding members Medically Home, Mayo Clinic and Kaiser Permanente.

After buying MDLive, Cigna will launch its own virtual-first health plan

Following Cigna’s 2020 launch of its virtual wellness program with MDLive, the health insurer is now offering expanded telehealth for all members enrolled through employer-sponsored plans, and is set to roll out its own virtual-first health plan with select employers.