CVS Health Warns Of Potential Costs From New Cholesterol Medicines
The treatments, which could be approved for some patients this year, could cost between $7,000 and $12,000 a year. This comes as a new poll finds health costs are Americans' biggest worry about retirement.
CVS Urges Cost Controls For New Cholesterol, Specialty Drugs
CVS Health on Tuesday warned that costs of a potent new class of cholesterol treatments and other specialty drugs in development could eclipse those of expensive new medicines and overwhelm the healthcare system "if rigid cost control mechanisms are not put in place." CVS, the second largest U.S. pharmacy benefit manager which negotiates drug prices for 65 million people through contracts with employers and health plans, noted that two of the new injectable cholesterol fighters - called PCSK9 inhibitors - could be approved by mid-2015 and likely each cost $7,000 to $12,000 a year. (Pierson, 2/17)
CVS Joins Express Scripts In Targeting New Cholesterol Drugs
The first patients to use the PCSK9 drugs are likely to be those who have a form of high bad cholesterol caused by a genetic variation that affects about 620,000 Americans. Once the drugs are approved for broader use, the population taking them could grow to as many as 15 million, according to CVS. The total costs of the medicines, and the strain on the finances of the health system, could be much greater than from Gilead Sciences Inc.’s hepatitis C drug Sovaldi, which first hit the market at $84,000 for a course of treatment. (Koons, 2/17)
Medical Costs Top Retirement Concerns, Poll Finds
High medical expenses are Americans' biggest financial worry about retirement, topping concerns about running out of money, according to a new report by Bankrate.com. The report found that 28 percent of Americans said medical costs were the biggest concern and households with income of more than $75,000 were more worried than average. (Karp. 2/17)
Will You Have Enough Money For Health Care When You Retire?
For many Americans, the idea of a secure retirement free from financial anxiety has become increasingly out of reach. One report showed last year that more than one-third of all working-age adult Americans have no retirement savings. People are also fretting about another key issue that everyone eventually faces in retirement: health care. (Kennedy, 2/18)
Kaiser Health News:
Even Insured Consumers Get Hit With Unexpectedly Large Medical Bills
Like [Pam] Durocher, many consumers who take pains to research which doctors and hospitals participate in their plans can still end up with huge bills. Sometimes, that’s because they got incorrect or incomplete information from their insurer or health-care provider. Sometimes, it’s because a physician has multiple offices, and not all are in network, as in Durocher’s case. Sometimes, it’s because a participating hospital relies on out-of-network doctors, including emergency room physicians, anesthesiologists and radiologists. Consumer advocates say the sheer scope of such problems undermine promises made by proponents of the Affordable Care Act that the law would protect against medical bankruptcy. (Appleby, 2/18)
In addition, The New York Times examines the possibility that consumers looking for health care bargains might travel to Cuba for treatment.
The New York Times:
Americans May See Appeal Of Medical Tourism In Cuba
Thousands of people from other countries go to Cuba each year for what is known as medical tourism: travel abroad for surgery or other medical care, often because the treatment is less expensive there or is not available where patients live. Now, the Obama administration has relaxed restrictions on travel to Cuba. Americans can come here for a range of reasons, including family visits, academic conferences, public performances, and religious and educational activities. While tourism or traveling to receive health care are still not allowed, the administration lifted a restriction requiring many Americans to travel with authorized groups or get a license in advance to visit the island. (Neuman, 2/17)