We spend more on hospital care than any other type of health care service, but hospitals make up the smallest amount of out-of-pocket spending.
- That means insurers are passing on a smaller percentage of hospital costs to enrollees, although they indirectly pay for hospital care through premiums.
Between the lines:
- “A big role of patient cost-sharing is to discourage use of inappropriate or unnecessary services. So much of hospital care is non-discretionary from the perspective of patients,” Kaiser Family Foundation’s Larry Levitt says.
- Levitt adds that insurance tends to pay a bigger part of hospital bills versus other services because hospital bills tend to be large, causing patients to blow through their deductible or hit their out-of-pocket maximum.
The Trump administration — primarily the president himself — has talked a lot about cracking down on prescription drug prices. But the pharmaceutical industry hasn’t changed its ways since Trump took office: 20 drugs have seen price hikes of 200% or more since January 2017, my colleague Bob Herman reports this morning.
- The drugs to watch: High-cost, high-use prescriptions like Humira, Enbrel and Revlimid. AbbVie hiked the price of Humira, the highest-selling drug in the world, by 19% over the 14-month period, and Amgen did the same for Enbrel. Celgene raised the list price of Revlimid by 20%.
- The big one: SynerDerm, a prescription skin cream, had the largest price hike. Phlight Pharma, the maker of SynerDerm, raised the list price by 1,468% over the past 14 months.
- The runners-up: A total of 39 drugs saw price hikes of at least 100%, although many of them — like anti-venom extracts — are rarely used and don’t cost the health care system much overall.
The impact: These increases, which can be found in an analysis by Pharmacy Benefits Consultants, are in the drugs’ list prices, before rebates and discounts are applied. People with insurance don’t pay these full amounts, but price hikes still affect everyone.
- Copays and deductibles are often based on drugs’ list prices, and uninsured patients can find themselves on the hook for a drug’s entire list price.