That’s the subject of this week’s Innovation Partners BioBlog. A bipartisan group wishes to delay the health insurance tax by two years. Blue Cross Blue Shield wishes to see ObamaCare subsidies expanded. Meanwhile, consumers aren’t seeing value in value-based care, a finding that surprised researchers. This and more from the world of healthcare in this week’s Innovation Partners BioBlog.


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RWJF: Members in individual market plans face greater cost-sharing for drugs

Consumers in individual or small group health insurance plans typically pay more out of pocket for their medications than those enrolled in large group plans, a new study shows. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that medications in lower plan tiers usually required a modest copay versus a higher tier, where consumers receive a negotiated copay. At higher tiers, the out of pocket costs can increase dramatically. Less than 10% of silver plans in the individual market have copayments that are not subject to a deductible, and for those that are, the median copay is $550. In the small group market, about 25% of silver plans use copays before the deductible, with a median copay of $250, according to the study.
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Big Pharma Gave Money To Patient Advocacy Groups Opposing Medicare Changes

Although dozens of patient advocacy groups participated in commercials opposing the Trump Medicare Changes, a Kaiser Health News analysis found that half of the groups received funding from the pharmaceutical industry, calling into question their motivations. Kaiser Health News’ “Pre$cription for Power” database tracks the links between the pharmaceutical industry and patient advocacy groups and found that drugmakers gave more than $58 million to groups in 2015 alone. This calls into question whether drugmakers are putting patient needs first or their own profits.
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Bristol-Myers tries to salvage $74 billion deal with Celgene. Meets with investors in New York, Boston

Bristol-Myers Squibb met with shareholders in Boston and New York to calm worried investors. Its $74 billion purchase of drugmaker Celgene is at risk of being derailed, with Hedge funds Wellington Management and Starboard Value publicly opposing the deal. The deal has already raised questions among Bristol shareholders, and it’s been a hard sell to their shareholders from day one.
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Bipartisan bill seeks to delay health insurance tax by 2 years

A bipartisan group of policymakers has introduced a bill that would delay the ACA’s health insurance tax until after 2021. Data from America’s Health Insurance Plans suggests the tax could boost premiums by more than $470 per family in 2020 if it’s implemented as scheduled. Reps. Ami Bera, D-Calif.; Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J.; Jackie Walorski, R-Ind.; and Kenny Marchant, R-Texas are behind the push to delay legislation.
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Study: Consumers skeptical of value-based insurance design

Payers want to expand value-based insurance; consumers remain skeptical. That’s the key message coming from the March issue of Health affairs. Value-based insurance design (VBID) promised to help consumers choose higher value care and discourage the use of lower value resources. The move aligned cost with quality. There is little evidence that consumers who make informed decisions choose higher value care.
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To increase patient satisfaction, providers need to start talking about costs: survey

Two-thirds of patients say that cost strongly influences their overall satisfaction with their hospital or physician, yet nearly 60% of health systems do not discuss costs with patients. This is according to a survey from VisitPay, a patient financial engagement platform. About 67% of patients claim they did not receive a cost estimate before treatment. Insurance and reputation of the facility appear to be the two dominant factors affecting where people receive treatment and their favorable or unfavorable view of a facility.
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Insurance group urges Congress to boost ObamaCare subsidies

Blue Cross Blue Shield Associates would like to see ObamaCare subsidies expanded. The group claims that expanding the tax credits to give more financial assistance would help reduce premiums and ensure more people get covered. Their proposal would also impose a cap on how much a household can spend on premiums, so coverage would be more affordable. The proposal echoes past stalled legislative efforts to stabilize the ObamaCare markets, and comes the day after House Democrats introduced “Medicare for all” legislation.
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