January 7, 2021 | Vol. XII | Issue 1 
Benefits Outlook 2021
The year 2020 was notable for the COVID-19 pandemic changing not only how and where people work, but also shifting (often dramatically) employee benefit needs. In 2020, benefits such as telehealth and mental health services that may have been viewed primarily as "nice-to-have" perks suddenly became necessities. Human resource departments were forced to quickly improve digital capabilities to ensure employees continued to receive the information required to make benefits selections for their rapidly changing needs. Organizations also had to address these issues while simultaneously determining how to remain profitable and competitive in a wildly unfamiliar and uncertain business environment.

The so-called "new normal" doesn't mean that traditional benefits are going away. But, the changes necessitated by the pandemic have resulted in a new array of unconventional and personalized offerings. As a result, employers are encouraged in 2021 to carefully review plan offerings, integrate pandemic-related benefits solutions into sustainable longer-term offerings and improve employee benefit communications.
Envision Cut from UnitedHealthcare's Network
Samantha Liss reports for Healthcare Dive:

Envision Healthcare's 25,000 clinicians are no longer considered in-network with UnitedHealthcare, the nation's largest private payer, the physician staffing company confirmed Tuesday.

The nationwide contract dispute threatens to leave patients with higher costs and surprise bills as Envision clinicians staff many hospitals, including emergency rooms across the country. Envision clinicians work in 44 states and D.C.

The New Neuroscience of Stuttering  
Amber Dance  
Gerald Maguire has stuttered since childhood, but you might not guess it from talking to him. For the past 25 years, Maguire - a psychiatrist at the Brain University of California, Riverside - has been treating his disorder with antipsychotic medications not officially approved for the condition. Only with careful attention might you discern his occasional stumble on multisyllabic words like "statistically" and "pharmaceutical."

Maguire has plenty of company: More than 70 million people worldwide, including about 3 million Americans, stutter - that is, they have difficulty with the starting and timing of speech, resulting in halting and repetition. That number includes approximately 5 percent of children, many of whom outgrow the condition, and 1 percent of adults. Their numbers include president-elect Joe Biden, deep-voiced actor James Earl Jones and actress Emily Blunt. Though those people and many others, including Maguire, have achieved career success, stuttering can contribute to social anxiety and draw ridicule or discrimination by others.

Maguire has been treating people who stutter, and researching potential treatments, for decades. He receives daily emails from people who want to try medications, join his trials, or even donate their brains to his university when they die. He's now embarking on a clinical trial of a new medication, called ecopipam, that streamlined speech and improved quality of life in a small pilot study in 2019. 
Post-COVID-19 clinics help "long-hauler" patients    
Post-COVID-19 clinics help

There have been more than 20 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. At least 10%, or 2 million people are considered "long-haulers," meaning they still have debilitating symptoms weeks to months after getting the virus. Dr. Tara Narula goes inside some of the specialty clinics for "long-haulers" popping up nationwide.

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