CENTER UPDATE | Early June 2020

This update features policy developments, media reports, and events
supporting continued momentum for multiple V-BID Center initiatives from late May to early June.

White House Announces Deal to Cap Insulin Costs for Seniors

On May 26th, 2020, the Trump administration announced that 1,750 Medicare Part D drug plans and Medicare Advantage plans will cap insulin copays at $35 in 2021. This policy change has the potential to drastically lower out-of-pocket costs for Americans and reduce cost-related non-adherence to insulin.

Divergent Insulin Out-of-Pocket Costs for Medicare Enrollees and the Privately Insured

Reports published by the Kaiser Family Foundation and JAMA Internal Medicine examine insulin costs for Medicare enrollees and commercially insured individuals, respectively. Aggregate Medicare out-of-pocket costs quadrupled between 2007 and 2017, while commercially insured consumer costs were relatively flat.

Insulin Injectibles

Patients With Type 1 Diabetes Spend About $2,500 A Year in Health Care Costs

New research from researchers with the University of Michigan CHEAR Center shows that while out-of-pocket costs for insulin can be substantial, patients with diabetes often pay more overall for other diabetes-related supplies and services. The lead author advocates for removing barriers to high-value care.

No-Deductible Preventive Drugs Lower Costs, Increase Medication Use for Low-Income Diabetes Patients

Recent findings reported in Medical Care demonstrate that making essential medications available with no deductible for patients with diabetes can reduce out-of-pocket costs and increase use of care.

Insurers Continue to Waive Customer Costs for Virus Tests, Care

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, select insurers, including Aetna and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, are extending their waivers of out-of-pocket costs for COVID-19 testing and treatment beyond initial deadlines. Learn more about V-BID’s role in the COVID-19 pandemic from our video.

Congress Said COVID-19 Tests Should Be Free - But Who's Paying?

Congress mandated there would be no out-of pocket costs for COVID-19 testing when the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the CARES Act were passed. However, some employers with self-funded health plans don’t cover all costs associated with testing.

The Future of Telehealth is Uncertain

The CARES ACT created a temporary safe harbor that allowed employers to add teleheath services to high-deductible health plans without cost-sharing, but additional guidance is needed to maintain this expansion beyond December 2021.

Health Insurance Providers Respond to COVID-19

America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) has compiled a list of health insurance providers’ actions to ensure Americans can receive appropriate prevention, testing, and treatment services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Michael Chernew Appointed as MedPAC Chair

In May, the Government Accountability Office announced the appointment of Michael Chernew, PhD, Leonard D. Schaeffer Professor of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School, and the co-founder of the V-BID Center, as chair of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC).

Breaking the Mold: Designing Health Plans That Do Not Impede Delivery of High-Value Care

The American College of Cardiology published a synopsis of their December 2019 summit on insurance benefit design and increasing access to high-value care. Summit attendees called for clinically nuanced plan designs that shift volume away from costly low-value services to create headroom for evidence-based therapies, without increasing health costs.

Hospice Carve-In: Aligning Benefits with Patient and Family Needs

This viewpoint in JAMA highlights new hospice benefits proposed by the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation. The hospice benefit package will be offered as a voluntary component of the Medicare Advantage Value-Based Insurance Design model in 2021, centering end-of-life care around patients’ needs instead of benefit design.

Please Help Support the V-BID Center

As a non-profit entity, the V-BID Center relies on fundraising to support our research, education, and policy efforts. Please help us continue our work by donating here. We truly appreciate your consideration.

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