Health Costs: Employer-Sponsored Insurance Premiums Rise 41%The Washington Post: "Premiums for employer-sponsored family health insurance increased an average of 41 percent across states from 2003 to 2009, more than three times faster than median incomes, and Maryland's rise was among the highest, at 50%, according to a report to be released Thursday by the Commonwealth Fund." The report presents a state-by-state analysis for six years of premiums paid by employers and employees. The report "also found that deductibles rose sharply in almost all states, increasing an average of 77 percent from 2003 to 2009 in large as well as small firms" (Sun, 12/2).
South Florida Business Journal: Another example -- health insurance premiums in Florida have grown "slower than the rest of the nation," according to the survey. "Looking at federal data, the New York-based nonprofit found that the average single-employee health insurance premium in Florida was $4,488 in 2009, up 25% from $3,592 in 2003. Nationwide, single-employee premiums rose 38%, to $4,669 from $3,481" (Bandell, 12/2).
Pharma Times: Meanwhile, "[i]n the US, up to 70% of prescription medicines are changed by health insurers in order to save money, a new survey" by patient advocacy group Global Healthy Living Foundation (GHLF) has found. "This is not a simple case of switching a brand-name drug for a generic, which is 'a common and generally-accepted practice,' but of switching one brand-name drug for another simply because one drug is cheaper, says GHLF. The GHLF is working with other advocacy groups, state insurance commissioners, the FDA and state attorneys general 'to see what action can be taken to stop this dangerous practice,' said [Executive Director Louis] Tharp" (Taylor, 12/2).
The Wall Street Journal Health Blog: Another report, this one by Deloitte, says the new health care law doesn't address central issues involved with prescription drug pricing, "and offers three potential reforms it says are worth investigating." The report suggests "public disclosure of the average sales prices for all drugs after rebates and discounts," mandating the comparative-effectiveness research institute to "include issuance of reimbursement guidance to payers on coverage decisions," and investigating "international price benchmarking" to potentially link U.S. drug prices to the average price charged in other countries (Hobson, 12/1).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.