Gotta love the start of summer; hope your weekend is going to be filled with fun and family.
But before you go, here’s what’s been going on over the past couple of weeks.
A report from AARP indicates generic drug prices, which have been falling for years, leveled off somewhat in 2013. Couple caveats – the data is for drugs commonly used by seniors, and the data is 18 months old. Among drugs relevant to workers comp:
- anticonvulsant prices increased 17.2% in 2013;
- muscle relaxants decreased 0.7%;
- opioid analgesics dropped 8.3%; and
- NSAIDs were down 8.4%.
Two other data points worthy of consideration.
- CompPharma is currently conducting the 12th annual survey of prescription drug management in workers’ comp; the top issue named by respondents so far is drug price increases (a major change from the historical focus on opioids)
- All the major PBM drug trend surveys released to date have identified drug price increases as a major issue.
Health reform implementation
The latest data indicates the percentage of Americans 18 – 64 without health insurance decreased to 16.7% in 2014, down from 20.4% in 2013.
The uninsured rate for U.S. adults under age 65 in [Medicaid] expansion states during the study period was 11.5%, a 3.4 percentage-point drop from 2013. By contrast, the uninsured rate for U.S. adults under age 65 in non-expansion states was 16.3% during the first nine months of last year, a 2.1 percentage-point decrease.
There’s a LOT of useless and some outright harmful medical care delivered every day – as has been well documented by many. A highly readable and compelling analysis comes from Dr Atul Gawande in a recent New Yorker; thanks to multiple readers and friends for the heads up.
Bad news came this morning; the economy actually shrank by 0.7% in Q1 2015; however that comes on the heels of a 5% jump in the latter half of 2014. Projections for the rest of the year look modest but positive; it also looks like unemployment may drop to 5% by the end of 2015; a major improvement over the 8% we saw two years ago.
Thanks to NCCI for updating our understanding of claim lag, the last broad-based analysis was the Glen Pitruzzello-authored study by the Hartford.
Summit’s acquisition of Paradigm is said to be close to completion. While we don’t know pricing or details, expect the transaction will be in the $500 million range as Paradigm’s EBITDA is rumored to be around $60 million.
Finally, word from multiple sources indicate imaging network company MedFocus has been bought by OneCall Care Management. MedFocus isn’t a major player with work comp revenues in the $25 million range, but the transaction does further limit the number of vendors available to serve comp payers.