Trending News Today: Costs for California Public Employees Skyrockets Due to Specialty Drugs

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

Out-of-pocket costs for the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) continues to increase, which puts pressure on the state to implement cuts, according to California Healthline. An analysis showed that CalPERS spent nearly $2.2 billion on prescription drugs in 2016, a 40% increase since 2011. According to the article, this spending was driven by costly prescription drugs. Although CalPERS has asked employees to pay more for branded drugs and require individuals to try a less costly drug before switching to a higher cost option, additional measures may be needed.

Sen Susan Collins (R-ME) recently said that money for Affordable Care Act (ACA) subsidies will likely be included in a government funding bill, according to The Hill. This was confirmed by Vice President Mike Pence, despite opposition from the GOP. Collins previously made a deal with GOP Senate leaders that she would vote in favor for the tax bill on the condition that 2 bipartisan ACA bills were passed by the end of the year, according to the article.

More than 4.7 million Americans have enrolled in ACA plans during the first 6 weeks of open enrollment, with more than 1 million sign-ups occurring during the sixth week, The Hill reported. In the previous week of open enrollment, only 823,000 individuals signed up, which suggests that Americans are rushing to gain coverage during the last few days of enrollment. However, since the enrollment period was cut in half this year, sign-ups could fall short compared with previous years, according to the article.

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