Into the debate about the frequency of cancer screenings steps the Gallup Organization, whose survey shows that a majority of Americans are satisfied with how often such screenings occur. Fifty-eight percent think that Pap smears, mammograms, and other screening tests are performed often enough. Thirty-one percent say they are not done often enough, while 7 percent say they are done too often. Expert recommendations for mammograms and, more recently, the PSA test — saying that they are done too frequently — have kicked up considerable debate.... Do not expect employers to stop sponsoring health care coverage en masse because of the Affordable Care Act, says a survey of 500 companies taken by Gfk Custom Research North America. Fifty-six percent say that they will continue offering benefits even after health reform is fully in place. Only 4 percent of the largest companies are considering terminating coverage altogether.... Billing itself as the “toughest standard-bearer” when it comes to grading hospitals, the Leapfrog Group last month released its list of top hospitals. Sixty-five made the cut, the same number as last year. Leapfrog focuses mainly on three areas: patient outcomes, resources used in care, and management practices that promote safety and quality. A list of the top hospitals, and the rankings for all participating hospitals is at http://www.leapfroggroup.org.
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.