The skinny on why data used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention exaggerated the number of obesity-related deaths is that a computer error caused a CDC study to overstate the number by 35,000. Four agency researchers reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association that a software glitch led to the false conclusion that obesity would overtake tobacco as the leading cause of preventable death by this year.... Health care Web sites may be chock full of information, but many people 65 or older haven't taken advantage, according to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation. The survey finds that 31 percent of this group have used the Internet and 21 percent have searched for health information online. Income plays a role: 65 percent of elderly with annual household income of $50,000 or more have used the Internet. Only 15 percent of those with annual household income of $20,000 or less have done so.... The good times keep rolling along at UnitedHealth Group. The Wall Street Journal reports that the plan's 2004 fourth-quarter earnings jumped 46 percent, while the insurer added 6 million new members. Revenue rose 40 percent to $10.51 billion, from $7.52 billion.
House Republicans come out with their ACA alternative. A continuous coverage surcharge replaces the individual mandate. But where’s the CBO score?
The biosimilar segment of the pharmaceutical industry is on fire. Some 700 biosimilars are at some stage of development, and more than 660 companies are involved in some way in the biosimilars land rush. Still, only a handful may get on the market in the next few years.
No one knows how much of an effect biosimilars will have on oncology expenditures. Pricing and market share are in a large, opaque “to be determined” cloud. But there’s certainly potential for a major impact that could lower oncology expenditures by millions, if not billions.
The future of biosimilars in this country is nothing if not uncertain. Most immediately, the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing a case that will determine the timing of the 180-day waiting period before a biosimilar can go on the market. But there are larger and longer-term issues at play as well.
While coupons help individual consumers, they are also having a major impact on the insurance industry and anyone responsible for paying health care bills. Insurers and pharmacy benefit managers complain that they foil formularies and other pricing strategies designed to steer consumers to less-expensive drugs.
The hard truth is that telehealth’s future—its size, its contours—will depend a lot on what payers will be willing to pay for. Currently, commercial plans cover only a limited number of services. In addition, research suggests that there may be quality and utilization problems.
Insurers should consider covering new drug-delivery devices that can improve outcomes while lowering disease-specific pharmacy and long-term overall health care costs. Managing these devices in the pharmacy benefit will consolidate volume-based purchasing and capitalize on PBM strategies for improving adherence.
Basaglar is coming on the scene during tumultuous times for insulin products. Manufacturers are under attack for price hikes. There are allegations of backroom rebate deals. And a class-action lawsuit has been brought on behalf of uninsured patients, charging insulin makers with setting artificially high prices.
Evaluating the quality of telemedicine care is about as easy as evaluating the quality of health care, period, and researchers are still ironing out the methodological kinks. That may be one reason research results are all over the place. This article involved reviewing nine such studies, and the findings are a mixed bag.
The results can be tragic. Patients with addictions are unlikely to wait the hours or days it takes health insurers to approve the medications they need. Insurers are changing their practices, but not without some outside pressure.