iLoveBenefits: Industry News Blog

The escalating cost of new cancer drugs

More than 100 of the country’s most prominent cancer doctors are calling for a mass mobilization of patients to fight the escalating cost of new cancer drugs, which are routinely topping $100,000 a year.  It is the latest move in a flurry of physician advocacy over the price of these therapies, which has included high-profile efforts to ensure costs are factored into decisions about how to treat patients. Employer groups and insurers, stung by the huge bills, have also joined the fight, as have some consumer advocates.

AHRQ Stats: Statin Use

 

The number of adults who reported using prescribed statins more than doubled in 10 years, from 17.6 million in 2000–2001 to 40.8 million in 2010–2011. (Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Statistical Brief #458: Trends in Statin Therapy among Adults (Age ≥ 18), United States, 2000 to 2011.)

…and if there were medical services price transparency… what would the public think

Prescription Drug Cost Perceptions

Here are some key findings from the June Kaiser Health Tracking Poll regarding the public’s views on prescription drug costs:

  • Almost three quarters (73%) of the public say prescription drug costs are unreasonable.
  • 76% of those believe costs are unreasonable because pharmaceutical companies set the prices too high.
  • 1 in 10 say that insurance companies are responsible for the costs by requiring people to pay too much.
  • 10% say that both pharmaceutical companies and health insurance companies are to blame.
  • Three quarters (76%) say it is easy to afford their medicine, while a fifth say it is difficult.
  • 53% say there is not enough price-limiting regulation vs. 12% who say there is too much regulation.

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation, June 16, 2015

June 22, 2015 | Categories: Cost,drugs,healthcare,insurance | Tags: , , , , | Comments (0)

We must all do better for patients . . . ultimately for our families and ourselves

According to a recent report:

  • Medication errors affect 3.8 million patients annually
  • In 2014, 59% of hospitals entered at least 75% of all medication orders electronically
  •  In 2013 and again in 2014, 36% of potentially harmful medication orders that were entered electronically did not trigger an appropriate warning
  • 13.9% of potentially fatal medication orders that were entered electronically were not flagged

Source: “Despite Improvement, New Report Reveals Technology to Prevent Medication Errors Fails Too Often,” The Leapfrog Group News Release, April 9, 2015, http://www.leapfroggroup.org/policy_leadership/leapfrog_news/5268377

What part of your health care budget goes to pharmacy costs?

According to a recent survey, 77% of employers spent 16% or more of their total health care budgets on pharmacy benefits in 2014, up from 71% in 2013. Source: “Majority of Employers Spend 16 Percent or More of Health Care Budget on Pharmacy Benefits: Buck Consultants Survey,” Buck Consultants at Xerox Press Release, February 25, 2015, http://news.xerox.com/news/5th-Annual-Buck-Consultants-at-Xerox-Prescription-Drug-Benefit-Survey

Most employers spend 16% or more of their healthcare budget on pharmacy benefits for their employees

Buck Consultants at Xerox recently released the fifth annual “Prescription Drug Benefit Survey”. Here’s what they found:

  • 77% of employers spend 16% or more of their healthcare budget on employee pharmacy benefits.
  • Almost 5% of employers spend more than 30% on pharmacy.
  • A specialty drug costs at least $2,500 per month or $75,000 per year.
  • 22% of respondents do not know the portion of drug spend attributed to specialty medications.
  • Utilization management programs, like prior authorization, are used by 77% of responders.

Source: Buck Consultants, February 25, 2015

Better understanding of BP measures in frail elderly people

Study warns of risks when frail older patients take multiple BP meds Frail elderly nursing home residents with low systolic blood pressure taking two or more antihypertensive medications were at a twofold higher risk of dying within two years compared with peers, according to a study in JAMA Internal Medicine. Researchers also found a higher portion of those deaths were from cardiovascular causes — 14.5% of patients on multiple antihypertension medications, compared with 9.4% of others taking fewer than two blood pressure-lowering drugs. Medscape (free registration) (2/19)

Which year is the abberation?

Spending on health care accelerating, report finds An Altarum Institute report found U.S. health care spending is accelerating, with growth of 5% in 2014, up from 3.6% the year before. It’s the largest increase since before the recession. Higher drug prices and an increase in the number of insured Americans are among the factors that could be driving the trend. Bloomberg (2/18)

February 19, 2015 | Categories: Benefits,Cost,drugs,healthcare,insurance | Tags: , , , | Comments (0)

U.S. Out of Pocket Expense for Prescription Drugs

According to a recent report, 18% of the $263 billion spent on retail prescription drugs in the United States in 2012 was paid out of pocket. Source: “Strategies Used by Adults to Reduce Their Prescription Drug Costs: United States, 2013,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, NCHS Data Brief Number 184, January 2015, http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db184.htm

As high and higher deductible plans take hold, the percentage paid for Rx drugs should rise.

Employees are looking for integration they can rely on

53% of Employees say it’s difficult to understand how to improve their health

According to recent data from HealthMine, over half of employees say that it’s difficult to understand or know what they need to do in order to maintain or improve their health. Some specific areas that came up include:

·         85% want to know if they have health risks for developing chronic conditions.

·         55% want help from their health care plan in setting personal health goals.

·         65% want their health plan to send them reminders about critical health actions such as prescription refills and annual health exams.

Source: Employee Benefit News

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