UnitedHealth Group spent $100 million on hepatitis C drugs in the first three months of the year, much more than expected, the company said Thursday.
The news helped drive down the biggest insurance company’s stock and underscores the challenge for all health care payers in covering Sovaldi, an expensive new pill for hepatitis C.
“We’ve been surprised on the volume — the pent-up demand across all three businesses” — commercial insurance and private Medicare and Medicaid plans, said Daniel Schumacher, chief financial officer of UnitedHealth’s insurance wing.Continue reading →
The Affordable Care Act provision that requires insurers to cover contraceptives with zero co-pay saved US women $483 million last year — $269 on average, according to a new report from the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics.
Overall, 24 million more prescriptions for oral contraceptives were filled in 2013, the first full year the health law’s contraceptive provision was in force, compared to 2012.
“The share of women with no out-of-pocket cost for these forms of birth control increased to 56% from 14% one year ago,” the report says.
Washington is one of the few states that has made the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America honor roll of states that have adopted comprehensive public policies supporting people with asthma, food allergies, anaphylaxis risk and related allergic diseases in schools.
In a valley wedged between the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, St. Louis often finds itself beset by a stationary air mass that only a severe storm of some kind can dislodge.
St. Louis is also an industrial city with high humidity, so it’s no wonder it usually makes the list of worst places for asthmatics to live.
But the state has also pioneered advances in addressing asthma treatment and costs. Two years ago, the Missouri legislature became the first to allow schools to stock quick-relief asthma medications for emergencies. Continue reading →
Kitsap County resident confirmed with measles; exposure likely in San Juan County
From the Washington State Department of Health:
April 11, 2014 - Measles continues to spread in Washington as cases in San Juan County have extended to a Kitsap County resident. A man in his 40s from Kitsap visited several places in Friday Harbor, including a restaurant where a contagious San Juan County man was at the same time.
San Juan County’s case count is now five, and Kitsap County has one. In Whatcom County, the case count remains at six. Continue reading →
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. has agreed to pay more than $27.6 million to settle state and federal allegations that it induced Chicago psychiatrist Michael Reinstein to overprescribe clozapine, a powerful antipsychotic drug.
Four years ago, ProPublica and the Chicago Tribune spotlighted Reinstein’s prescribing pattern, findingthat in 2007 he had prescribed more clozapine to patients in Medicaid’s Illinois program than all of the doctors in the Medicaid programs of Texas, Florida and North Carolina combined. Continue reading →
Facing heavy bipartisan opposition on Capitol Hill as well as from patient groups, businesses, insurers and others, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said Monday it did not plan to move ahead “at this time” with several proposed changes to the Medicare prescription drug program.
The draft regulation, which had been released in January, would have wide-ranging impact on the drug program, also known as Part D, including new limits on the number of plans insurers could offer consumers and new rules about what drugs those plans must cover.
It also would prohibit exclusion of pharmacies from a plan’s “preferred pharmacy network” as long as the pharmacies agreed to the plan’s terms and conditions. Continue reading →
There’s a new drug regimen being touted as a potential cure for a dangerous liver virus that causes hepatitis C. But it costs $84,000 – or $1,000 a pill.
And that price tag is prompting outrage from some consumers and a scramble by insurers to figure out which patients should get the drug —and who pays for it.
Called Sovaldi, the drug is made by California-based Gilead Sciences Inc. and is the latest in handful of new treatments for hepatitis C, a chronic infection that afflicts at least 3 million Americans and is a leading cause of liver failure. It was approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration in December. Continue reading →
Two new medications to treat the deadly epidemic of hepatitis C promise millions of Americans a better chance of a cure, shorter periods of treatment and fewer side effects than older drugs. They also threaten to bust state budgets and raise private insurance rates. Continue reading →
People buying health insurance through the health law’s new online marketplaces are more willing than the public at large to accept a limited roster of doctors and hospitals in return for lower premiums, a poll released Wednesday finds.
But that enthusiasm nosedives if they are told their regular doctor isn’t included in the plan. Continue reading →