This Week’s Top 4 Healthcare Headlines

It is pretty amazing the amount of news activity that’s been generated around health insurance this past week (again). Let’s see if we can adequately summarize the highlights for you:

1. “California exchange insurance rates for 2015 draw mixed reaction” according to an LA Times article.
“The 4.2% increase in Obamacare insurance rates in California for 2015 announced Thursday drew an enthusiastic reaction from activists and insurers. But there was also some skepticism.” LA-Times-Premiums-Reduced

Is this in line with the increase you’ve been advised for your policy?

Some think this small increase is politically motivated: “voters this fall will consider Proposition 45, which would require health insurance companies to get state approval for all rate increases. Health insurance companies know better than to spit in the eyes of voters before they decide whether to enact greater accountability for the industry….”

So, what do you think: is the system working to keep costs down, or do you agree that it is politically motivated?

2. According to an article by the Sacramento Business Journal: “Rates are one big issue for consumers who shop through Covered California. The other is whether there are enough doctors to treat everybody who signed up.”

Assuming you are insured through The Exchange, have you had an issue getting a timely appointment with your doctor?  Sacramento-doctors

There are still 2 bills left to legislate before the end of the term:
* “Senate Bill 964 by state Sen. Ed Hernandez would require the Department of Managed Health Care to review Medi-Cal managed care plans and plans sold through Covered California annually for compliance with state standards for timely access, network adequacy and other measures. Consumer groups support the measure; health plans say it’s unnecessary.”

* “Assembly Bill 2533 by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, which would allow consumers to go out of network if they have to — and pay as if the provider is in network.”
Which, if any, would you support?

3. An article in the San Francisco Chronicle asked its readers, “How much can we afford to pay for one drug? How much profit does one company deserve for producing that drug? The $1,000-a-pill price for Sovaldi (the hepatitis C drug) makes plain that our system for pricing prescription drugs is broken…At more than $84,000 for a full course of treatment, the total cost of treating the estimated 3.2 million Americans living with chronic Hepatitis C is about $270 billion – almost as much as the United States spends annually on all other prescription drugs combined. Why does Sovaldi cost so much? Because that’s how Gilead has chosen to price it…Intended to provide an incentive for innovation, this monopoly right is similar to the advantage patent holders in other industries enjoy. However, the prices for other products are constrained by what consumers are willing and able to pay. If the product is priced higher than it is valued by consumers or what they can afford, it won’t sell…Consumers’ willingness or ability to pay isn’t a constraint on pricing because insurers or government health programs typically pay all but a small portion of the tab. And because these are products that patients need for their health, insurers and government are expected to pay – no matter the cost.”  Hepatitis-C

What is the most you’ve ever had to pay for a prescription?

4. Yes, ebola has also been in the news, but since it has not been very significant for health insurance nor California, there isn’t much more for us to share beyond what you’ve already read or heard on the news.

We’d so love to hear your answers! Please join the conversation and share with your friends so they can join the conversation as well.

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