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Top Healthcare Predictions for 2015 and the IRS Ramps Up Efforts to Collect Obamacare Fines

IP Blog | Dave Melin | January 4, 2015

BioBlog Weekly oncologyThis week in healthcare, five healthcare predictions for big trends in the new year and Obamacare fees for not being insured will rise in 2015.

Healthcare Predictions for 2015

It’s a new year, and health startup investor Julie Papanek has five big predictions for healthcare in 2015. They include Walmart entering the health insurance exchange market, startups selling into big pharma, and Amazon cutting into the medical supply chain.

ObamaCare fines rising in 2015, IRS prepares to collect

This year, fines for those with no insurance are slated to increase, and will now be collected by the IRS. While the fines in 2014 were $95 per person or 1% of household income (whichever is higher), in 2015 the rates will be raised to $325 or 2% of household income (whichever is higher).

Premiums up 6 percent on ACA exchanges, McKinsey finds

A study by McKinsey found that average ACA premiums have risen by 6 percent over 2014. The report also found that “if all exchange enrollees were to renew the insurance they purchased in 2014, the vast majority–85 percent–would have higher premiums,” which supports the government’s advice for enrollees to shop around and not just auto-renew on their current plans.

89 new ACOs join Medicare Shared Savings Program

As the 2015 year of the Medicare Shared Savings Program begins, CMS has announced that 89 new ACOs will be joining the program. According to CMS, this now brings the total number of participating ACOs to 405, encompassing over 7.2 million beneficiaries.

Authors Discuss How to Pay for Telehealth in Managed Care in AJMC Publications

In two articles published in the American Journal of Managed Care (AJMC), authors discuss the best way to pay for telehealth, which is featured in a proposed new CMS rule that would lift barriers to paying for the service.

Massachusetts becomes first state to require end-of-life talks

After a law passed in 2012, Massachusetts has become the first US state to require physicians to talk with patients about end-of-life planning. The law requires that “hospitals must do their best to identify patients who are in their last six months of life, and have a nurse or physician caring for the patient ask them whether they want to discuss care options, such as whether they want to stop treatment, be kept alive by any means possible or have preferences somewhere in between. Such conversations will proceed only if the patient agrees.”

Dances with Pharma: Part 1 – why are drugs so expensive?

In this two-part series, Cancer Research UK explores the “why” behind high drug costs. The organization lists high investment cost, high cost of failure, and the length of time drugs wait before making money, among others, as factors in rising costs.

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