Companies are making some changes for employees health insurance amid the pandemic

More coverage for virtual doctors’ visits. Expanded mental health benefits. Access to on-site health clinics.



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As employees sign up for job-based coverage for 2021, they’ll find the coronavirus pandemic has changed some of the benefits that their companies are providing, experts said.

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And they’ll also see their premiums and out-of-pocket costs increase about 5%, which is more than wages and inflation have been rising, according to the Business Group on Health, which surveys large employers.

This bump comes on top of a 4% increase in premiums this year, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s annual employer health benefits survey. In 2020, the average annual premiums hit nearly $7,500 for single coverage and $21,500 for family coverage. Deductibles stayed roughly the same at about $1,650 for a single person.

One of the biggest changes for 2021 will be a growth in the number and types of virtual

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Equinox’s Variis App Is Making the Best of Boutique Fitness Accessible to All

When Equinox launched Variis—its first foray into digital fitness—earlier this year, it came with one major caveat: In order to access it, you had to either be an Equinox member or shell out $2500 for the SoulCycle at-home bike. As of today, though, the app is officially available to everyone, proving that an accessible blend of in-person and online workouts are officially the wave of the future.

In addition to Variis’s OG streaming workouts (spin classes from SoulCycle, treadmill sessions from Precision Run, yoga flows from PureYoga, and meditation and recovery classes hosted by Equinox trainers), the latest iteration of the platform will also stream classes from Solidcore, Rumble, and TB12, plus real-time, live classes. Or you can tune out and watch Netflix, Amazon, and Disney+.



a woman holding a phone: Variis


© Photo: Getty Images/Oscar Wong
Variis

At $40 a month, Variis pricing is in line with others in the industry (the “all-access” pass required

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Scarlet fever is making a comeback. Bacterial ‘clone’ could be to blame.

Once a leading cause of death for children across the western world, scarlet fever was nearly eradicated thanks to 20th century medicine. But fresh outbreaks in the UK and North East Asia over recent years suggest we’ve still got a long way to go.

Just why we’re experiencing a resurgence of the deadly pathogen is a mystery. A new study has uncovered clues in the genome of one of the bacterial strains responsible, showing just how complex the family tree of infectious diseases can be.

The species behind the illness is group A strep, or Streptococcus pyogenes; a ball-shaped microbe that can churn out toxic compounds called superantigens, capable of wreaking havoc inside the body. Especially in children.

The results can be as mild as an uncomfortable case of pharyngitis or a bad rash, or as severe as a toxic shock that causes organs to fail.

With the advent

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‘I Lost Over 100 Lbs. In 1.5 Years By Making These 4 Simple Tweaks To My Diet’

My name is Ashley Kincade (@ashleyloveebugg), and I am 25 years old. I live in Chandler, Arizona, and I am an operations manager. I was tired of having knee pain and no energy, so I worked with my doctor to create a calorie deficit to lose weight and did at-home YouTube workouts and High Fitness classes to lose over 100 pounds.



a woman standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera: Ashley K. lost over 100 lbs. after her doc helped her calculate a daily calorie intake and cut processed foods. She also did High Fitness and Youtube workouts.


© Ashley Kincade
Ashley K. lost over 100 lbs. after her doc helped her calculate a daily calorie intake and cut processed foods. She also did High Fitness and Youtube workouts.

Before my weight loss journey, I struggled with overeating, food addiction, emotional eating, and yo-yo dieting. I was always too fatigued to workout, and I would end up giving up on working out because I thought it was too hard.

My feet and legs hurt all the time, and I was in my early 20s. I

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Tracking COVID-19 in sewage, Canada’s making some major moves

Tracking COVID-19 in sewage, Canada’s making some major moves
Tracking COVID-19 in sewage, Canada’s making some major moves

Think of your flush as adding to a forecast of potential disease in your area. In fact, scientists may even thank you for it.

“We’ve been collecting samples of the wastewater that comes into the [treatment] plant,” says Marc Habash, Associate Professor at the University of Guelph’s School of Environmental Sciences. “And then, through different processes, we concentrate those samples and extract the genetic material from that sample. We then look for specific genetic sequences that relate to that virus. And using that information, it can tell us if that virus is present in the community that is being served by that wastewater treatment plant.”

There are multiple regions across Canada that are tracing concentrations of COVID-19 in sewage, including Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, following the lead of researchers in Europe who first tried to track COVID-19 in their

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Fitness and nutrition studio is making most of telehealth boom, expanding operations

Since the coronavirus began threatening people’s health and wellness, Jim White has seen a boom in telehealth and fielded more clients than ever before.

In this down and up year, the founder of Jim White Fitness & Nutrition Studios is celebrating its 20th anniversary and opening a new location on First Colonial Road in Virginia Beach.

The expansion — planned pre-COVID — will take care of the growing pains the business had over the last 10 to 15 years and enable White and his team to help more people.

“This gives us the opportunity to streamline our processes and recreate our brands,” White said.

Two of the Virginia Beach studios – Hilltop and Great Neck – will relocate to the new space which White said is geographically in the middle of both. The one in downtown Norfolk will remain and White said he’s looking at other areas of Hampton Roads

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With the country making no progress on average daily Covid-19 cases last month, officials fear a coming crisis

The US made no progress in lowering its baseline of Covid-19 cases in the past month despite experts’ urgent admonitions to reduce the daily count of new cases before the challenging fall and winter seasons.



a group of people sitting in a grassy field: People are socially distanced as they listen to music of the Kansas City Symphony on the lawn at the Liberty Memorial Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)


© Charlie Riedel/AP
People are socially distanced as they listen to music of the Kansas City Symphony on the lawn at the Liberty Memorial Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Hours before President Trump announced Friday that he and his wife tested positive for the virus, the average of daily new cases nationwide stood around 42,785. That’s about 500 more than on September 1, data from Johns Hopkins University shows, and more than double what the US saw in June, when lockdown restrictions began to ease.

“No matter how you slice it, that’s not good,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and

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Pandemic AVR: Making Patients Wait May Do More Harm Than Good

Recent cardiac events suffered by patients with symptomatic severe aortic stenosis (AS) could be tied to whether their hospitals expedited aortic valve replacement (AVR) in select cases or paused these procedures in response to COVID-19, two reports suggested.

In the first, a Swiss hospital showed success selecting patients for expedited AVR despite safety concerns during the pandemic, whereas a New York City center that pushed these procedures back for everyone had a substantial number of patients subsequently die or require urgent transcatheter AVR (TAVR) while waiting, the second found.

Both reports were published online in JAMA Network Open.

“Taken together, these studies provide useful guidance. First, as we have known for many years, symptomatic AS is a life-threatening condition, and its treatment cannot be considered elective in any way. Patients with the most echocardiographically severe stenosis, clinically advanced symptoms, or comorbid coronary artery disease or lung disease belong at

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These Orgs Are Making Sure the Future Has Black Doctors

Only 5 percent of doctors in the U.S. identify as Black.

This is Race and Medicine, a series dedicated to unearthing the uncomfortable and sometimes life-threatening truth about racism in healthcare. By highlighting the experiences of Black people and honoring their health journeys, we look to a future where medical racism is a thing of the past.


Thanks to the Black Lives Matter movement, racism and anti-Blackness are being examined in many American industries: healthcare is one of them.

In addition, the way in which COVID-19 has specifically impacted Black Americans now makes the inherent racism within healthcare very clear.

The current pandemic is exposing the consequences of racial discrimination within healthcare industries at every level. However, anti-Blackness in medicine and other related health disparities is nothing new for Black people.

The medical field has historically been an industry that perpetuates neglect and prejudice towards Black patients. There is also

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The Health 202: Democrats are making Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination all about Obamacare

The perennial fight is playing out in yet another legal challenge to the health-care law, which the court is scheduled to hear shortly after Election Day.

“It’s no mystery about what’s happening here,” Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said in a speech yesterday responding to the president’s nominee. “President Trump is trying to throw out the Affordable Care Act – he’s been trying to do it for the last four years. The Republican Party has been trying to eliminate it for a decade.”

The administration believes it has found “a loophole” with the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Biden added, saying “they see another opportunity to overturn the ACA on their way out the door.”

Democrats are keeping a tight focus on the ACA as they respond to the Barrett pick.

As we’ve explained in The Health 202, the probable replacement of Ginsburg with a conservative justice makes it

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