December 2007

Everyone knows about the perverse incentive of fee-for-service medicine, but that hasn’t had much effect on its use
John Carroll
Profits should increase over the next two years for plans that stay the course, but politics and rising premiums may affect long-term results
Martin Sipkoff
The United Kingdom is proving hospitable to UnitedHealth Group and Aetna, and there is business to be had elsewhere in Europe and on other continents
Tom Reinke
There are not many traditional medications in the pipeline, and those that are in development probably won’t make waves
Ed Silverman
Plans prod hospitals to do a better job of addressing problems that kill nearly 100,000 Americans a year
Lola Butcher



Departments
Editor's Memo
John Marcille
Legislation & Regulation
The Empire State’s approach to physician ratings quickly gains health plan support and consideration as a national answer
John Carroll
Medication Management
Programs that include a pharmacology benefit reap rewards for the health plan and the member. So why isn’t there 100 percent buy-in?
Martin Sipkoff
Tomorrow's Medicine
Evithrom may minimize some of the antibody production associated with bovine proteins, but the possibility of human viral infection exists
Thomas Morrow, MD
Health Plan Design
Many new programs offered by insurers bet that individuals, not employers, will one day be making the major decisions
Lola Butcher

Managed Care’s Top Ten Articles of 2016

There’s a lot more going on in health care than mergers (Aetna-Humana, Anthem-Cigna) creating huge players. Hundreds of insurers operate in 50 different states. Self-insured employers, ACA public exchanges, Medicare Advantage, and Medicaid managed care plans crowd an increasingly complex market.

Major health care players are determined to make health information exchanges (HIEs) work. The push toward value-based payment alone almost guarantees that HIEs will be tweaked, poked, prodded, and overhauled until they deliver on their promise. The goal: straight talk from and among tech systems.

They bring a different mindset. They’re willing to work in teams and focus on the sort of evidence-based medicine that can guide health care’s transformation into a system based on value. One question: How well will this new generation of data-driven MDs deal with patients?

The surge of new MS treatments have been for the relapsing-remitting form of the disease. There’s hope for sufferers of a different form of MS. By homing in on CD20-positive B cells, ocrelizumab is able to knock them out and other aberrant B cells circulating in the bloodstream.

A flood of tests have insurers ramping up prior authorization and utilization review. Information overload is a problem. As doctors struggle to keep up, health plans need to get ahead of the development of the technology in order to successfully manage genetic testing appropriately.

Having the data is one thing. Knowing how to use it is another. Applying its computational power to the data, a company called RowdMap puts providers into high-, medium-, and low-value buckets compared with peers in their markets, using specific benchmarks to show why outliers differ from the norm.
Competition among manufacturers, industry consolidation, and capitalization on me-too drugs are cranking up generic and branded drug prices. This increase has compelled PBMs, health plan sponsors, and retail pharmacies to find novel ways to turn a profit, often at the expense of the consumer.
The development of recombinant DNA and other technologies has added a new dimension to care. These medications have revolutionized the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and many of the other 80 or so autoimmune diseases. But they can be budget busters and have a tricky side effect profile.

Shelley Slade
Vogel, Slade & Goldstein

Hub programs have emerged as a profitable new line of business in the sales and distribution side of the pharmaceutical industry that has got more than its fair share of wheeling and dealing. But they spell trouble if they spark collusion, threaten patients, or waste federal dollars.

More companies are self-insuring—and it’s not just large employers that are striking out on their own. The percentage of employers who fully self-insure increased by 44% in 1999 to 63% in 2015. Self-insurance may give employers more control over benefit packages, and stop-loss protects them against uncapped liability.