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Cancer Center Examines Patient Needs and PBM Finds Jump in Use of $100K Cancer Medications


IP Blog | Dave Melin | May 17, 2015

BioBlog Weekly oncologyThis week in healthcare, national survey finds cancer center advertisements frequently target people’s desire for miracles while rarely mentioning palliative care, and an estimated 576,000 Americans used medicines that cost more than $50,000, according to analysis by Express Scripts.

What Do Cancer Centers Think Patients Are Looking For?

A recent study of cancer center advertisements found that a common theme was “people’s desire for hope, for miracles, and for a healthcare team that will fight against all odds,” but only 2% of centers even mentioned palliative care.

PBM Giant Finds Surge in Patients with Six Figure Drug Spending

A recent report by Express Scripts has found that “last year, An estimated 576,000 Americans used medicines that cost more than $50,000, on a par with the country’s median household income, according to analysis by Express Scripts. The $50,000-plus population grew 63 percent since 2013, while the population of patients with drug costs over $100,000 almost tripled to 140,000.”

More State Exchanges on Verge of Implosion

This article details the decline and official closing of the Massachusetts state exchange, the Mass Connector. At least half of the initial 16 states that set up state exchanges are struggling. Hawaii just announced that it will be shutting down its state exchange as well.

White House to Address Exchange Plan Provider Directories, Surprise Medical Bills

As patients and providers continue to navigate Exchange plans, two issues the White House says it will work to resolve are “inaccurate provider directories and surprise medical bills for treatment not covered by insurance.”

Bombarded with Changes in Health Care and Beyond, Gynecologic Oncologists Prepare for the Challenges Ahead

At the Society for Gynecologic Oncology’s recent annual meeting, SGO’s president, Richard R. Barakat, noted that physicians are being challenged by a “bombardment” of changes. “Paramount and perhaps most important is the need to provide affordable care to all segments of the population, as disparities clearly still exist in the United States of America.”

As Employers Try to Avoid the Cadillac Tax, Treasury and the IRS Need to Act

The ACA’s “Cadillac Tax,” a 40% tax on some employer plans, is scheduled to begin in 2018, and some argue that it will end up costing workers. This HealthAffairs article argues that “the time for policymakers and regulators to act is now. The longer they wait the more uncertainty there will be in the marketplace and worker benefits will be harmed.”

Expert Predictions: Cancer Care 10 Years from Now

The American Cancer Society’s 10 Research Professors share their expert opinions on “how cancer research will evolve over the next 10 years.” Their expertise and predictions range in topic from precision medicine and large-scale data sharing to immunotherapy and genomic profiling to defragmentation of research and an increased focus on personalized medicine.

Hawaii State Insurance Exchange to Shut Down

After failing to attain financial self-sustainability by 2015, Hawaii’s state insurance exchange has been declared unsuccessful. It has ceased to enroll new customers, and on September 30 it will close and its 37,000 enrollees will re-enroll in the federal exchange program.

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