News for Insurers
Top stories summarized by our editors
11/21/2017

The opioid abuse crisis cost the US economy an estimated $504 billion in 2015, according to an analysis from the White House Council of Economic Advisers. That figure is over six times higher than previous estimates. The council said the report, released less than a month after President Donald Trump declared opioid abuse a public health emergency, presented higher estimates than earlier studies because it adjusted for underreporting of opioid-related deaths, used a different method to determine the value of lives lost and accounted for the cost of illicit drugs in addition to prescription drugs.

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The Hill, Vox
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opioid abuse, public health
11/21/2017

Medicare's long-term sustainability is at risk due to rising health care costs, a shrinking taxpayer base and an increasing number of beneficiaries, according to an HHS report, and the CMS would need to substantially increase revenue or make drastic cuts in benefits to balance its budget. With growth in health care costs continuing to outpace growth in the taxable wages that fund Medicare and the ratio of taxpayers to Medicare-eligible Americans falling from 3:1 in 2016 to 2:1 by 2091, the program is expected to face a budget shortfall of $3.3 trillion over the next 75 years.

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Medicare, HHS
11/21/2017

Overweight or obese women are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer after a tumor has grown to more than 2 centimeters and may need more frequent screenings, according to a study to be presented at the Radiological Society of North America's annual meeting. Women with a BMI higher than 25 have a poorer prognosis when breast cancer is diagnosed between regular screenings, compared with normal weight women.

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HealthDay News
11/21/2017

Employee wellness program trends predicted for 2018 include personalized benefits, a focus on reducing workplace stress and sleep deprivation, the acceptance of workday naps and an increase in standing desks. Vending machines also will be filled with healthier fare, such as vitamins and healthy snacks.

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BenefitsPro
11/21/2017

Applying discounts and rebates at the point of sale in Medicare Part D would result in higher insurance premiums for subscribers while boosting drugmakers' profits, the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association said in response to a proposed CMS rule. Proposed requirements "put at risk the choice and affordability of preferred pharmacy plans -- the most popular and widely chosen options in Part D," PCMA states.

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FiercePharma
11/21/2017

Alex Azar, who has been nominated by President Donald Trump to lead HHS, received $1.6 million in severance pay from Eli Lilly and Co., made nearly $1 million from stock sales, and received more than $700,000 in other payouts when he left Lilly in January.

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Politico
11/21/2017

Groups representing hospitals, health care providers and pharmacists say Congress should investigate the lack of information drugmakers disclose about product supplies.

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Congress
11/21/2017

AmerisourceBergen announced its plan to buy H.D. Smith, a privately held drug wholesaler, for $815 million. The Federal Trade Commission could scrutinize the offer closely, Bob Herman writes.

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Reuters, Axios
11/21/2017

Johnson & Johnson intends to convene an advisory board meeting to "identify opportunities to differentiate Remicade" from competitive biosimilars.

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Johnson & Johnson
11/21/2017

Drug company Concordia raised the price on its liothyronine thyroid drug by about 6,000% over a decade, costing the UK's National Health Service about $45 million last year. The Competition and Markets Authority is investigating.

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Reuters