June 11, 2021

Around the nation: Seattle becomes the first major U.S. city with at least 70% of people fully vaccinated

Daily Briefing

    Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan (D) on Wednesday announced that Seattle has become the first major U.S. city to have at least 70% of its residents fully vaccinated, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Washington.

    • Nevada: Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) on Wednesday signed into law a bill making Nevada the second U.S. state to plan to offer a public health insurance option. The new law aims to create state-managed health insurance plans by 2026 and requires that insurers bidding to cover Medicaid recipients and state employees also bid to offer a public option plan. State officials would also select certain providers to be in-network with the public option plan and require they charge 5% less in premiums than the average plan on the Affordable Care Act marketplace and 15% less four years after first offering the plan (Appleton, Las Vegas Review-Journal, 6/9; Metz, Associated Press, 6/10).
    • Minnesota: UnitedHealthcare (UHC) on Thursday announced it would postpone implementing a plan to stop covering ED visits the insurer determined were nonurgent, the New York Times reports. According to UHC, the policy, which was scheduled to take effect in July, was aimed to help make care more affordable by "encouraging people … to seek treatment in a more appropriate setting." UHC previously said the plan represented an enforcement of "existing plan provisions," that providers could attest patients had met a "prudent layperson" standard in deciding to seek emergency care, and that patients could appeal any denials. Ultimately, UHC delayed the plan after several major hospital and physician groups—including the American Medical Association and the American Hospital Association—said such a policy could further deter people who, amid the pandemic, were already deferring or delaying necessary care in the ED. "Based on feedback from our provider partners and discussions with medical societies, we have decided to delay the implementation of our emergency department policy until at least the end of the national public health emergency period," UHC said. (Editor's note: Daily Briefing is published by Advisory Board, a division of Optum, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group. UHG separately owns UHC.) (Abelson, New York Times, 6/10)
    • Washington: Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan (D) on Wednesday announced that Seattle has become the first major U.S. city to have at least 70% of its residents fully vaccinated. According to Durkan, 78% of Seattle residents ages 12 and older have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine (Williams, The Hill, 6/9).
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