TGIF

The FEHBlog is in Manhattan with Mrs. FEHBlog caring for their grandson while his parents are out of town. It’s a lovely late summer afternoon in NYC.

The actuarial consulting firm, Aon, reported that

Total budgeted health care costs per employee (including employer premium, employee premium and employee out-of-pocket) are projected to top $15,000 in 2018, up from $14,266 in 2017.

After plan design changes and vendor negotiations, the average health care rate increase for mid-size and large companies was 3.9% in 2017. Aon is projecting that average health care cost increases for mid-size and large companies will be 4.5% after plan design changes and vendor negotiations in 2018.

The Hill reports that the Federal Bureau of Investigation “has arrested a Chinese national in the United States in connection with malware used in the 2015 breach of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).”

Healthcare Dive tells us about the steps that health plans and providers are taking to improve the accuracy of health plan provider network directories.  Why not require the doctor to inform his or her patients about the networks in which he or she participates. It strikes the FEHBlog that this step would push the ball forward.

Health Day discusses a recent JAMA study of “the price of anti-cholesterol drugs — called PCSK9 inhibitors” which concludes that the current price “would have to be slashed by a whopping 71 percent to be deemed cost-effective.”

Dr. Kim Allan Williams, who was not involved in the study, is past president of the American College of Cardiology. He said some doctors have a difficult time with such studies because they compare patients’ lives and “events” — such as heart attack and stroke — versus dollars spent on these medicines.
The new study doesn’t change his view of the value of the PCSK9 inhibitor class.
“No one’s giving those drugs unless the patient is incapable of getting to the target [level of LDL cholesterol],” said Williams, who is chief of cardiology at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. “You’re only going to use it for a situation where you have no choice.”
Because the study is based on list prices, not what patients actually pay, it’s also “difficult to analyze the cost-effectiveness when [you] don’t know exactly what the cost is,” Williams added.

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