May 2008

In 2006, health care spending averaged $7,026 per person. By 2017, that will shoot up to $13,101.
John Carroll
Moving to a payment system tied to the severity of illness and refusing to pay for hospital-acquired conditions may encourage private payers to do the same
Martin Sipkoff
The UnitedHealth executive brings experience in public health and physician leadership to bear on issues facing health plans
There is no one-size-fits-all contract, says a senior executive at Prescription Solutions. A PBM can perform many functions.
John D. Jones, RPh, JD
Many are calling this attempt at universal coverage a failure, but health plans, physicians, and policymakers in Massachusetts say “Not so fast!”
Frank Diamond



Departments
Viewpoint
We Yanks might learn a thing or two about making decisive, countrywide health care decisions from our Canadian neighbors
Lorraine Fernandes, RHIA, RHIT
Legislation & Regulation
A proposed research institute would pit medications against each other instead of against placebos, and that might save $368 billion over 10 years
John Carroll
Medication Management
Other countries do it, and the FDA is thinking about creating a class of drugs that would not require a doctor’s prescription but would require a pharmacist’s approval
Martin Sipkoff
Plan Watch
Aetna releases a five-year study showing that companies that do this correctly can enjoy impressive savings
Frank Diamond
Tomorrow's Medicine
Artiss, a fibrin product, is a breakthrough, allowing burn patients to avoid anesthesia, staples, and a subsequent operation to remove the staples
Thomas Morrow, MD

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.