KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Health Insurer To Stop Covering Uterine Procedure

Highmark Inc., which sells plans in Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia, will stop covering power morcellation, a technique often used in hysterectomies, after the Food and Drug Administration advised doctors against it because it may spread cancer. 

The Wall Street Journal: Health Insurer To Stop Covering Uterine Procedure
In the procedure, a bladed device is used to cut up common uterine masses called fibroids, often in hysterectomies, so the tissue can be removed through tiny incisions in minimally invasive surgery. Highmark is the first insurer known to be halting coverage of power morcellation, and the move is the latest in a series of mounting pressures on use of the tool. ... The FDA estimates the instruments were being used in 50,000 hysterectomies a year (Levitz, 8/2).

Reuters: U.S. Insurer To Stop Coverage Of Gynecological Procedure
A health insurer with 5.2 million members in three Eastern U.S. states said on Saturday it would stop providing coverage for a procedure called laparoscopic power morcellation that is used in gynecological surgery and may inadvertently spread cancer. Highmark Inc, which has customers in Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia, will stop covering the procedure on Sept. 1, company spokesman Aaron Billger said in an email. It is the first insurer to halt coverage of power morcellation after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration advised doctors in April against it (Walsh, 8/3).

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