Healthcare Economics & Policy

JPMorgan Chase has acquired InstaMed, a technology company with a focus in healthcare payments, for a purchase price of more than $500 million.

CMS finalized a rule that aims to boost transparency of the cost of prescription drugs in Medicare Part D and enable Medicare Advantage plans to negotiate better prices for medicines. Notably, the final version backs off a controversial proposal that would have allowed Medicare Part D plans to exclude certain drugs if prices rise beyond a threshold.

 

Physicians are bringing in more revenue at hospitals in 2019 than previously, according to a recent report from Merritt Hawkins.

Rural hospitals are closing at a quick pace, leaving communities at a loss after sometimes long-standing institutions shutter their doors. In Fort Scott, Kan., the closure of a 132-year-old hospital had to be reckoned with, and the closure brings up the question of if small towns need a traditional hospital at all, NPR reported.

The next step in the ongoing saga of the $69 billion merger between CVS Health and Aetna is scheduled for June 4. That’s when a hearing is set in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, where six witnesses made up of industry stakeholders will testify as U.S. District Judge Richard Leon will decide whether the deal can be finalized.

Forty-four U.S. states have joined together in a lawsuit against 20 drug manufacturers, accusing them of scheme to inflate drug prices and eliminate competition in the market, Reuters reported. The drugmakers are accused of jacking up the prices by more than 1,000% in some cases.

With high compensation and a good work-life balance, Minnesota is the best state for physicians to thrive in 2019, according to a recent ranking from Medscape.

CVS Health is still embroiled in a dispute over its $69 billion merger with Aetna, which was approved by the Department of Justice last year and closed in late 2018. However, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon isn’t so sure the deal hasn’t crossed any antitrust laws and is reviewing the case in court.

Private health insurance plans, which cover the majority of people in the U.S., paid higher rates to hospitals compared to public plans such as Medicare and Medicaid, according to a recent report from RAND.

 

The savings that Medicare Advantage plans can bring to the table may have been over-weighted after a recent study revealed seniors who switch from traditional Medicare plans already have lower healthcare costs before they join an MA plan.

Adopting the prices of other countries could potentially have helped save Medicare part D as much as $72.8 billion in 2018, as drug prices in the U.S. averaged 3.2 to 4.1 times higher after rebates compared to the U.K., Japan and Ontario, Canada, according to a study published in Health Affairs.

CVS Health is still facing challenges from its $69 billion merger with health insurance giant Aetna, which closed in late 2018. While the deal was approved by all necessary state regulators and the Department of Justice, a federal judge is still mulling over the deal and looking at potential antitrust problems.