Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Donuts and drugs

Medicare patients are likely to discontinue their medication in December. Why? Are they busy with the Christmas holidays? Do they have additional expenses for gifts and limited funds for prescription drugs? Perhaps. Another idea advanced by Kaplan and Zhang (2014) is that Medicare’s benefit structure encourages discontinuation. Why is that? Medicare’s Part D drug plan […]

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What most reduces adherence: increasing copayments or decreasing prescription lengths?

According to this article, the answer is: “Both policies decreased medication adherence. The days’ supply policy [decreasing the days supply of each prescription from 100 to 34 days] had a much larger effect on adherence than did the copayment increase. Total Medicaid spending declined from the days’ supply policy, but the copayment policy resulted in […]

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MedPAC’s Home Health Recommendations

In their latest 2011, MedPAC made four recommendations to alter payment policy in the home health setting.  These include the following: The Secretary, with the Office of Inspector General, should conduct medical review activities in counties that have aberrant home health utilization.  The Secretary should implement the new authorities to suspend payment and the enrollment […]

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Do higher copayments decrease health care costs?

Merrill Goozner of GoozNews writes the following: The share of health care costs borne by individuals has remained fairly steady over the past several decades, and that is the prime argument behind conservative and economist claims that making patients have “more skin in the game” will drive health care costs lower. That ignores the fact […]

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Does Free Health Insurance increase the poor’s access to medical care?

As mentioned in previous posts, most health insurance in the France public health care system involves significant copayments. While this helps to reduce the moral hazard problem, it may prevent poor individuals from utilizing the care they need. In 2000, France introduced free complementary health insurance plan which covers most out-of-pocket payments for the poorest […]

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Increased Copays for high priced drugs

Consumers are starting to pay a larger share for high priced drugs.  According to the N.Y. Times (“Co-payments“), insurance companies “…are charging patients a percentage of the cost of certain high-priced drugs, usually 20 to 33 percent, which can amount to thousands of dollars a month.”  Medicare’s drug plans have introduced new fee schedules where […]

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