Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.
A survey conducted by Genworth Financial found that the cost of long-term care is continuing to rise. According to The New York Times, the median annual cost of private nursing home rooms increased nearly 19% since 2011 and 1.2% from last year, leaving a bill of $92,378. Since Medicare does not cover long-term stays, many people who are seeking coverage end up spending down their assets until they qualify for Medicaid. “It's really becoming more and more difficult for the average family ... to even purchase long-term care insurance,” said Joe Caldwell, of the National Council on Aging. The increased cost of nursing homes is mostly due to individuals who arrive with chronic conditions, such as diabetes or emphysema, and are in need of more medical attention. “They're living longer, they're not necessarily living healthier,” said Greg Crist, spokesman for the American Health Care Association.
Today, Cigna will announce its role as the first insurer to reach value-based contracts for new cholesterol medications Praluent and Repatha. According to The Wall Street Journal, Cigna will receive extra discounts from drug manufacturers, if the new medications prove to have little benefit in aiding patients. With the changing landscape, this step will help push for the link between the cost of drugs and how well they work. Research conducted by IMS Health revealed that US prescription drug spending increased 12% to nearly $425 billion in 2015, sparking a demand from customers to get what they pay for.
Under close government scrutiny, federal prosecutors have launched an investigation on how drug manufacturers and industry middlemen conduct business, reported The Wall Street Journal. The US attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York has sent out demands for information from Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co, and Endo International PLC, to investigate contracts between drug makers and the companies that manage prescription benefits in the United States.