Day: May 7, 2020

UnitedHealth Customers Will See a Discount on Next Month’s Bill

With so many of its customers struggling during the pandemic, UnitedHealth Group, one of the nation’s largest health insurers whose profits have not suffered during the crisis, is offering modest relief. On Thursday it said it would make $1.5 billion worth of premium credits and fees for doctor’s visits available to people enrolled in its plans.

“People are hurting right now,” said David S. Wichmann, UnitedHealth’s chief executive, in a call with reporters on Wednesday night. “Employers are hurting. Individual consumers are hurting.”

Employers and individuals in its commercial plans could receive credits toward their premium bills for June, ranging from 5 to 20 percent of their May bills. The credits, which would be targeted to those in areas of the country hardest hit by the virus, would not apply to the plans UnitedHealth administers for employers that are self-insured.

For people enrolled in its Medicare Advantage plans, the company

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F.D.A. Bans 65 N-95 Style Face Mask Manufacturers

The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday barred more than 65 manufacturers in China from exporting N95-style face masks to the United States, citing poor quality.

In doing so, the F.D.A. slashed the number of Chinese companies approved to sell the masks in the U.S. to 14 from 80.

N95 masks, which provide better protection against coronavirus particles than cloth or surgical masks, are coveted by health care providers and emergency medical workers. On April 3, drastic shortages of the N95 masks led the F.D.A. to allow imports of similar masks from China.


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New Studies Add to Evidence that Children May Transmit the Coronavirus

Among the most important unanswered questions about Covid-19 is this: What role do children play in keeping the pandemic going?

The answer is key to deciding whether and when to reopen schools, a step that President Trump urged states to consider before the summer.

Two new studies offer compelling evidence that children can transmit the virus. Neither proved it, but the evidence was strong enough to suggest that schools should be kept closed for now, many epidemiologists who were not involved in the research said.

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Germany and U.S. on Divergent Paths to Reopen

Germany was a leader in the West in taking on the pandemic, and then a leader in the calibrated restarting of public life. On Wednesday, Chancellor Angela Merkel had a hopeful message for the nation: The experiment was working.

“We can afford a little audacity,” Ms. Merkel said.

Germany’s successful strategy was good news for countries eager for a sign that life can continue with the virus. But it was also a stark reminder of the differences in other Western countries, including the United States, where some states have taken steps toward reopening even as infections rise, and where President Trump is clearly eager to move past the pandemic and on to the recovery — whatever the cost.

“Hopefully that won’t be the case,” Mr. Trump said on Wednesday when asked if deaths

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