How ICER will conduct it’s “Barriers to Fair Access” Assessment

Last fall, ICER published a white paper titled “Cornerstones of ‘Fair’ Drug Coverage: Appropriate Cost-Sharing and Utilization Management Policies for Pharmaceuticals.” To paraphrase, ICER’s goal is to limit access restrictions (e.g., cost sharing, coverage limitations, prescriber restrictions, step therapy) when a drug is deemed to be cost effective. How will they do this? Their Barriers…

Bagging it

How do you get your prescription drugs? For most people, it involves going to your local pharmacy and picking up your pills. But what if the drugs you needs are infused treatments that have to be administered at a physician’s office? Typically, you just show up at a physician’s office and it’ll be ready for…

The problem with prior authorization

Prior authorization is a requirement that health plans require physicians to obtain plan approval in order to prescribe a patient a given medication. Prior authorizations may be put in place to insure medications are not used inappropriately or for payers to try to reduce cost. While prior authorization may help save money, delays in the…

How can we improve mental health services provided by employers?

At the American Psychiatric Association meeting last week, the APAM Center provided some suggestions. AJMC reports that their 5 policy recommendations include: Create action plan to insure network adequacy. “Employers can start by expanding services at the inpatient and outpatient levels, and engaging regional and national organizations to add providers, including specialty providers. They can…

Estimating the price elasticity of demand through value-based formulary designs

In 2010, Premera Blue Cross (Premera), a large nonprofit health plan in the Pacific Northwest implemented a value-based formulary design for its beneficiaries.   In essence, enrollees could purchase high-value treatments for low copayments and low-value treatments for higher copayments.  Can we use this change from more standard to value-base formulary designs to estimate the price elasticity…

Precision Benefit Design

A recent viewpoint from Fendrick and Shope (2018) argues for the need for Precision Benefit Design. Successful implementation of precision medicine will need to address several system-wide challenges, including administrative complexities, the creation of new financing models, and aligning provider- and patient-focused initiatives. The enormous clinical potential of precision medicine sheds light on the critical…